The Canadian star, recovering from a spinal harm following his IndyCar crash at Pocono in 2018, returned to the cockpit to check an tailored Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster TCR automobile at Mid-Ohio.
Wickens, a winner in Formulation BMW, Formulation Atlantic, GP3, Formulation three, A1GP, Formulation 2 and a champion within the Formulation Renault three.5 Collection joined IndyCar in 2018 after a six-year spell in DTM.
He scored a pole and 4 podium finishes in his first 13 races, took Rookie of the 12 months honours on the Indy 500, and lay sixth within the championship when a horrific crash within the 14th spherical at Pocono in August left him with a thoracic spinal fracture, fractures to each legs, each fingers, a forearm, an elbow and 4 ribs.
Wickens was second at Mid-Ohio in 2018, his remaining accomplished IndyCar Collection race.
Picture by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images
The timing of the shunt when it comes to his profession timeline was on his thoughts when he spoke to the media from Mid-Ohio after the check the place he confirmed ambitions to return to elite motorsport and presumably IndyCar.
Wickens’ check at Mid-Ohio Sports activities Automotive Course got here on account of Bryan Herta Autosport providing a run within the Hyundai Veloster TCR automobile that Stephen Simpson shares with Michael Johnson within the IMSA Michelin Pilot collection. Johnson, who’s paralysed from the chest down and makes use of hand controls.
“The toughest factor of my harm was, I felt like I used to be simply hitting the height of my profession and my talents when this occurred,” he stated. “We’re creeping up on three years now because the accident. And I really feel like I am not utilising these prime years of my profession.
“I’d love nothing greater than to get again at an elite stage. And… selfishly, I’d like to get again to IndyCar to shut that chapter of my life by myself phrases.
“I feel everybody can sort of relate if for no matter causes, one thing occurs that you just weren’t actually planning, typically it leaves a nasty style in your mouth.
“I’d love nothing extra ideally, than to win an IndyCar race after which possibly transfer on. However, you recognize, I feel proper now, there’s a lot to determine.
“I imply, on the early phases of my restoration, I actually wished to return to IndyCar. I am not saying I do not now, however understanding what goes into accessibility and making an IndyCar aggressive with hand controls could be a large endeavor. One which possibly with the present IndyCar rules would not be totally possible.
“So, by no means say by no means. There’s plenty of nice groups on the market, and I actually assume crazier issues have occurred up to now, however in the intervening time, I am simply going to maintain doing what I am doing, specializing in my rehab and hopefully, in due time, the correct alternative will come.”
Picture by: IMSA
Wickens emphasised that the check doesn’t imply he has a race seat lined up for later within the 12 months and even 2022, as he would nonetheless want funding.
“At the beginning, I feel getting up and operating comes with finance,” he commented.
“Sadly, that is the motorsports world. That is what we dwell in. It would not matter if that is IndyCar, if it is Formulation E, if it is IMSA. Funds is the primary hurdle and as soon as we will stand up and operating, then we kinda have the entire world at our disposal. However in the meanwhile, it is fairly powerful to get began.
“The long-term targets for me have not modified. I need to return to an elite stage of motorsport once more. It has been actually since day zero of my restoration and we’re nonetheless chipping away. This can be a large step in my journey again, however that is actually all that’s right here at the moment. Sadly, there’s nothing actually within the pipeline.
“However you recognize, I’ll preserve doing what I can, preserve working arduous and I consider that onerous work all the time pays off. And I consider I need to nonetheless race at a excessive stage and at an elite stage. And hopefully that may come true someday quickly.”
Wickens defined that regardless of his unfamiliarity with the hand management system that Johnson makes use of within the Hyundai, he felt it labored properly.
He stated: “There is a ring on the entrance of the steering wheel that you just push for throttle, after which there’s one other ring on the bottom of the steering wheel that you just pull in for brake, which I feel is a superb system. Having all the pieces inside fingers’ attain on the steering wheel has been fairly good to this point.
“It is a actually steep studying curve and there is been plenty of psychological focus, attempting to program in, preplan what I am doing with my fingers earlier than I get to the following nook. It is slowly beginning to take form the place I am having to assume much less and fewer about it.”