Wickens to make racing comeback in Hyundai TCR car
More than three years after a devastating IndyCar accident, Robert Wickens will return to race action with Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai in IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Wickens has been rehabilitating since his brutal accident in IndyCar’s race at Pocono in August 2018, in which he suffered a thoracic spinal fracture, spinal cord injury, neck fracture, tibia and fibula fractures to both legs, fractures in both hands, a fractured right forearm, fractured elbow, a concussion, four fractured ribs and a pulmonary contusion.
Almost 1000 days later, in May last year at Mid-Ohio, Wickens evaluated one of Bryan Herta Autosport’s Hyundai Velosters that had been equipped with hand controls.
Now he will form an all-Canadian line-up with touring car ace Mark Wilkins in BHA’s #33 Elantra N TCR race car, and will make his debut in the four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge endurance race at Daytona on 28 January.
"I’ve spent a lot of nights thinking and dreaming of this moment, and with the support from Bryan Herta and Hyundai it is all becoming a reality,” said Wickens who had scored four podiums and a pole position in his first 12 IndyCar races before his life-changing crash.
“I am hungrier now than I was before my accident to compete for wins again!
“I’m really looking forward to incorporating myself with the entire Bryan Herta Autosport team and finally get my first taste of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR.”
The #33 Elantra N has been fitted with a custom hand-control system designed by BHA technical director David Brown and development technician Jonathan Gormley.
Steering wheel for Robert Wickens
Photo by: IMSA
The system features a metal ring, located behind the steering wheel, that is connected to the brake pedal by a series of rods and is pulled with fingers to activate the brake.
Two linked throttle paddles and shift paddles, also attached behind the steering wheel, allow the driver to accelerate, shift and make steering inputs.
Wilkins has a switch to deactivate the hand throttle when he takes over from Wickens, and the Elantra will accelerate and brake using traditional foot pedals when he is driving.
BHA’s six-car line-up will test at Daytona Jan. 21-23, when the IMPC field gets track time in between the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s ‘Roar Before the 24’ sessions.
#33 Bryan Herta Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N in action at Laguna Seca last August.
Photo by: Art Fleischmann