Wheldon brothers join Andretti team’s development programme

The 12 and 10-year-old sons of the late IndyCar ace Dan Wheldon have joined Andretti Autosport’s driver development programme.

Wheldon brothers join Andretti team’s development programme

Wheldon, who died in an IndyCar crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011, won the 2005 series title for Michael Andretti's team when it was known as Andretti-Green Racing and scored 16 IndyCar wins in a career that included two Indianapolis 500 victories in 2005 and 2011.

The Briton had been due to rejoin the team for 2012, having lost his full-time drive at Panther Racing and agreed a part-time schedule in 2011 with Bryan Herta Autosport that famously culminated in his second 500 win when Panther rookie JR Hildebrand crashed at the final corner.

Wheldon also played a key role in developing the new-for-2012 Dallara IR-12 chassis, which was renamed the DW12 in his honour.

Under the new mentorship programme organised by Andretti, brothers Sebastian and Oliver Wheldon will carry the Andretti shield into three national level karting series: Rok Cup USA, Super Karts USA and United States Pro Kart Series while competing with JC Karting.

Sebastian, 12, and Oliver, 10, “will receive oversight and career guidance" from Michael Andretti and his IndyCar team.

Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti said: “Dan was family to us, and we had a lot of on track success together. We see a lot of Dan in both Sebastian and Oliver and are very proud to officially welcome them into our racing family.

“No one will ever be able to replace Dan in their lives, but we’re happy to offer a network for mentorship to help the boys grow their careers.

“Karting is the first step, but we have hopes of helping foster promising Road To Indy, and eventually even IndyCar opportunities.”

Dan and Susie Wheldon with Sebastian and Oliver, 2011 Indy 500

Dan and Susie Wheldon with Sebastian and Oliver, 2011 Indy 500

Photo by: Motorsport Images

"I’m really excited to be a junior driver for Michael Andretti and follow in my dad’s footsteps,” said Sebastian Wheldon.

"I hope Oliver and I can both win the Indy 500 too.”

Oliver Wheldon added: "It would be so cool to race for Andretti Autosport one day. I think we will get to win a lot of races, just like my dad.”

Dan Wheldon's widow Susie added her thanks to the team for lending its support.

“I am so grateful to Michael for taking Sebastian and Oliver under his wing,” she said.

“The junior ranks of racing are so difficult to navigate and to have the support of Andretti Autosport’s engineering resources will, I’m sure, make all the difference.

“I am reminded of Dan every time the boys pull on their helmets as they have the same determination and winning attitude.

“They often show some of Dan’s other traits too. Good luck, Michael - #DoubleTrouble!”

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