Robert Wickens leaves DTM to race for Schmidt in IndyCar in 2018

Robert Wickens will leave the Mercedes DTM team to race for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport in IndyCar for the 2018 season

Robert Wickens leaves DTM to race for Schmidt in IndyCar in 2018

Wickens had been looking to move to IndyCar after Mercedes confirmed it would quit the DTM at the end of 2018.

He had been on the radar for Schmidt Peterson for some time, having undertaken a 'ride swap' earlier this year with his DTM car and childhood friend James Hinchcliffe's Dallara-Honda.

Visa issues for Mikhail Aleshin later in the year then led to a surprise practice run at Road America for Wickens, and he almost made an early debut in place of Esteban Gutierrez after the Mexican crashed in Toronto qualifying.

Wickens will instead make his maiden IndyCar start in 2018, with Hinchcliffe expected to be confirmed as his team-mate.

"Until this season, I'd never really considered leaving Mercedes or the DTM," said Wickens.

"I can't thank Mercedes enough for the last six years and wish them the best of luck for the future - it's probably been the best six years of my life.

"I've had a lot of ups and downs on the way but have never had so much support from a team before.

"It's been an honour to represent the brand and maybe it's not the last time."

In an announcement made by Mercedes, the manufacturer said "the opportunity to move came at exactly the right time" for Wickens, following its decision to withdraw from the DTM.

Mercedes DTM boss Ulrich Fritz said: "It's obviously a big pity that Rob is leaving us. We're losing both a great driver and a terrific person.

"Rob has been an important member of our team over the past six years.

"Although his departure obviously makes us feel sad, we are, nevertheless, pleased for him.

"The IndyCar series will definitely be a great experience for Rob, and I'm sure he will put his stamp on this series as well."

Wickens added: "It's going to be a very steep learning curve. A lot of things will be completely new to me. I've never driven on an oval before.

"As everyone knows, I haven't been driving formula cars over the last six years since I've been in DTM, so I have to get up to speed very quickly but am looking forward to the new challenge."

Wickens in the DTM 2012-2017

Starts: 84
Wins: 6
Poles: 5
Podiums: 15
Best championship position: 4th (2016)

shares
comments
IndyCar explains decision to drop Watkins Glen for Portland for '18
Previous article

IndyCar explains decision to drop Watkins Glen for Portland for '18

Next article

James Hinchcliffe stays with SPM to partner Robert Wickens in IndyCar

James Hinchcliffe stays with SPM to partner Robert Wickens in IndyCar
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021