Sharing his Hyundai Elantra N with fellow Canadian Mark Wilkins in a two-hour race at Watkins Glen, Wickens gained the TCR class of the Michelin Pilot Problem occasion for Bryan Herta Autosport.
His final race victory was in September 2017, on the Nurburgring for Mercedes within the DTM.
As a result of his spinal wire damage, Wickens races with hand controls for the throttle and brake, though he retains feeling in his legs and might stand for brief durations holding a body.
He drove the primary stint, surging from fourth on the grid to the lead after an early pitstop beneath yellow for brand spanking new tyres and gas. Earlier than handing over to Wilkins, he prolonged his result in 10s after a charging drive on contemporary rubber.
Their automobile even briefly ran ninth general within the mixed GT4/TCR occasion, earlier than being shuffled again into the category pack for restarts. A flurry of late yellows meant the Alfa Romeo of Tim Lewis Jr was proper on Wilkins’s tail to the checkered flag.
After attending to inside zero.3s at one level, Wilkins held on as Wickens from the pits in his wheelchair.
“We’ve been so near this plenty of instances this yr and it’s been taken away from us via what seems like no fault of our personal,” Wickens instructed NBC after the race.
Hyundai Elantra N Hand Controls allow Robert Wickens to make the most of his throttle, brake and shifting inputs for his Elantra N TCR
Photograph by: Bryan Herta Autosport
“So, to lastly come via with a comparatively clear race [feels amazing].
“I gave us a little bit scare in our first pitstop [when he bumped into the back of teammate Parker Chase at the pit entry] however the automobile was nice, our Hyundai Elantra N TCR was simply dialled-in this weekend.
“The Alfa has simply totally different strengths to us, so these remaining laps have been fairly nerve-racking. It was a lot faster on the straights – Mark would have half a second on it at begin/end and nonetheless needed to defend on the Bus Cease. He did such a superb job, I’m simply completely happy I gave it to him in a single piece and in fine condition.”
Wickens additionally revealed that he was watching within the pits on a delayed stream on NBC’s Peacock service and hadn’t realised he was “residing previously”, because it was a minute behind when the ultimate lap began.
When requested how this win suits in his profession, he replied: “It’s like a milestone one.
“It’s not probably the most emotional win I’ve had for some purpose, perhaps as a result of I used to be sitting as we crossed the end line and I didn’t have the adrenaline of being within the automobile.
“Truthfully, we did so effectively this weekend.
“We had a difficulty in qualifying that the group did so effectively to rectify to present me no less than one lap, and we clearly had the tempo in the long run.”