Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced today its lineup for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season that will feature an all-Canadian driving duo of James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens.
Hinchcliffe has renewed his contract with the Indianapolis-based team with a multiyear extension. The five-time race winner and 2016 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter will enter his eighth Verizon IndyCar Series season in 2018 and fourth with SPM.
Wickens joins the team following six successful seasons driving for Mercedes-Benz in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series in Europe. Wickens did fill in for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for a practice day at the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America in June, when former SPM driver Mikhail Aleshin had visa issues and could not be at the track.
“Not only am I really excited to be able to say I’ll be back with SPM for next year and beyond,” said Hinchcliffe, a native of Oakville, Ontario, “but I am also really looking forward to being teammates with one of my oldest friends. Robbie and I grew up racing against one another, eventually took different paths – me staying in North America in open-wheel cars and him going off to Europe in sports cars – but it’s pretty neat that we both ended up here and we get to live our dream of being professional racing drivers, together on the same team."
Hinchcliffe, 30, and Wickens, 28, will form the first all-Canadian full-time team in Indy car racing since 2004 when Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier drove for Forsythe Racing in Champ Car.
“This is an entirely new chapter to add to my racing career, and I am really excited for this opportunity that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has given me,” Wickens said. “I think everyone knows the story by now that James and I grew up racing against one another in go-karts, and to make it to the largest open-wheel racing series in North America together as teammates, it’s crazy to think about.
“I am very thankful for the six years I had with everyone at Mercedes and DTM,” Wickens added. “Those are memories I will cherish forever. I can’t wait to truly see what the Verizon IndyCar Series is all about.”
Wickens won six DTM races in his six seasons, but he cut his teeth in open-wheel racing prior to making the shift to touring cars. The native of Guelph, Ontario, won the Formula BMW USA championship in 2006 and Formula Renault 3.5 title in 2011.
“We’re all very pleased to have Robert on board, and not just because he’s another Canadian,” said Ric Peterson, SPM co-owner and fellow Canadian. “He's obviously someone who has been on our radar for some time now, and we’re excited about this new chapter in the SPM organization. We’ve been building a lot of momentum within the team and hope this latest addition will be a great next step as we move forward. I’m also really proud that we’ll be able to represent Team Canada and be able to showcase two great Canadian athletes.”