When rising motorsport star Robert Wickens suffered a crash in IndyCar’s Pocono event back in 2018, it wasn’t clear that the Canadian racer would compete again due to severe injuries. Today, though, Wickens has announced that he’s going to be competing in the 2022 IMSA TCR season behind the wheel of an all-Canadian Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai.
“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,” Wickens said in a press release. “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.”
Wickens will be joined by Mark Wilkins, a fellow Canadian racer.
Despite his accident, Wickens pushed through 989 days of rehabilitation following the Lap 7 accident that left him with 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. He and his wife Karli have documented his recovery — both its ups and downs — on Instagram.
The No. 33 Elantra N has been equipped with a custom hand-control system that can be easily used by both Wickens and Wilkins. I’ll let the release give you the details:
The system features a custom metal ring connected to the brake pedal by a series of rods specifically tailored to the Elantra. The ring is attached behind the steering wheel that is pulled with fingers to activate the brake. Two linked throttle paddles and shift paddles, all attached behind the steering wheel, allow the driver to accelerate, shift and make steering inputs. The system also features a switch for Mark Wilkins when he takes over the cockpit in pitstops that deactivates the hand throttle. The Elantra will accelerate and brake using the traditional foot pedals when Wilkins is driving.
Hyundai’s TCR effort is a damn good place for Wickens to get back on track. The company has a whopping six entries in the TCR series this year, which is only the icing on the cake. Hyundai already has two manufacturers titles and a whole heap of wins. And Wickens has been working with the team already to develop these custom solutions that will enable him to do what he loves — it’s a match made in heaven.
Wickens will be hitting the track soon during testing at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 21-23, 2022. His first race will come the following weekend in the form of a four-hour race that takes place the day before the Rolex 24.