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Wickens hospitalised after major Nurburgring crash

Former IndyCar star Robert Wickens will spend tonight in hospital after a big crash in today’s Nurburgring Langstrecken Series race at the fabled Nordschleife track in Germany.

#33: Bryan Herta Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian, Hyundai Elantra N TCR, TCR: Robert Wickens

Photo by: Bryan Herta Autosport

Wickens – who suffered a serious spinal cord injury in an IndyCar crash at Pocono in 2018 that left him paraplegic – was making his debut in the series, sharing a Target SRL-entered Hyundai Elantra N with his fellow Canadian co-driver Mark Wilkins.

This was the first race of a double-header event to start the NLS endurance racing season, a 28-lap race around the fearsome 12.9-mile circuit that’s renowned as one of the greatest tracks in the world.

Their car had suffered an early clash with the Falken-backed #3 Porsche that left some cosmetic damage on the unbranded #831 car’s right-rear corner, which was patched up as Wickens rejoined.

Following the major crash at the halfway point of the endurance race, which reportedly happened at the end of the Dottinger-Hohe section towards the end of the lap, the 35-year-old Canadian was transported to hospital for precautionary checks, having been declared “conscious and alert” by his Bryan Herta Autosport team on its social media channels.

At just after 5pm local time, BHA released a further update on his condition: “After a further evaluation at hospital, scans are complete and clear. Robert will stay in hospital overnight for precautionary observation.”

 

Although there is no official account of what happened, onboard footage from the #4 Porsche showed barrier damage at the final corner where Wickens is believed to have hit the tyrewall and vaulted over the fence.

Wickens won the TCR title in last year’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series in America with BHA’s factory-backed Hyundai team, sharing with Harry Gottsacker.

Wickens uses hand controls to manipulate the throttle, brake and clutch, which is a system that can be turned off so his co-drivers can drive the car in a more regular manner. Due to his recovery from the spinal injury “plateauing”, Wickens has set his long-term goals on becoming the first disabled driver to race in the Indianapolis 500.

He has been tipped to contest next month’s Nurburgring 24 Hours, but this was unconfirmed when Autosport reached out to the South Korean manufacturer last week.

The NLS series is coming out of a controversial off-season, which was blighted by political wrangling and only took part after a legal challenge to the track’s Russian-owned holding company – which wants to run its own Nurburgring Endurance Series.

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