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Wickens returns to race with Hyundai and BHA

After more than three years of punishing rehabilitation efforts, Robert Wickens is ready to return to professional motor racing at Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai.

Canadians have completed BHA’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Driver Roster and will share the No. 33 Elantra NTCR with Countryman and IMPC Champion Mark Wilkins. After IndyCar’s fierce crash at Pocono in 2018 paralyzed him under his hips, the deal completed Wickens’ journey back to his beloved sport and countless posted on his social media channels. Recorded in the video.

Since the accident, his strenuous efforts to regain the strength and movement of his legs have spent most of Wickens’ time at the BHA Hyundai Velostar NTCR, which had throttle and brake controls on the steering wheel last year in Mid-Ohio. Wickens, who culminated in his tests, confirmed that he was able to express his speed and natural abilities through a manual system.

The next step was to offer Wickens the offer he had been trying to receive since 2018, thanks to the support of Hyundai and Hertha’s vast six TCR operations.

“I spent many nights dreaming about this moment, and with the support of Bryan Herta and Hyundai, everything is becoming a reality,” Wickens said. “I’m hungry to compete for victory again than before the accident. I’m really looking forward to blending in with the entire Bryan Herta Autosport team and finally tasting the Hyundai Elantra NTCR for the first time.”

Hertha admits shedding tears when she saw Wickens squeeze the steering wheel of her car last year. The signing of the team by a 32-year-old player from the suburbs of Toronto could bring even more tears in 10 years. Race IMPC calendar.

“Today is a monumental day for us as a team and as a fan of Robert Wickens,” Hertha said. “We were amazed at his determination and dedication, along with his many, many fans, following Robert’s rehab. He put his professional motorsports on our Hyundai Elantra NTCR car. It’s really incredible to announce that we’re going back to one. Thank you for Hyundai’s great support and for helping us pave the way back to where Robert belongs. “

Wickens and Wilkins will begin a partnership later this month in Daytona with the opening round of the four-hour IMPC season. From the BHA side, he runs a duo of Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson who were unable to use their feet due to a motorcycle race accident. We have a wealth of experience in adjusting. The pedal needs to work on his foot.

Johnson and Simpson return to BHA with the No. 54 Elantra N TCR as one of six entries, giving the team a unique opportunity to bring two cars to the team featuring drivers who have overcome mobility challenges with technology. Give.

“The No. 33 Hyundai Elantra N TCR is equipped with a custom hand control system designed by BHA technical director David Brown and development engineer Jonathan Gormley,” the team explained. “This system features a custom metal ring connected to the brake pedal by a series of rods specially tuned for the Elantra. The ring is mounted behind a finger-pulled handle to activate the brakes. Has been done.

“The two linked throttle paddles and shift paddles are all mounted behind the steering wheel, allowing the driver to accelerate, shift and steer input. This system allows Mark Wilkins to make a cockpit at the pit stop. It also has a switch that disables the hand throttle when taking over. Elantra uses traditional foot pedals to accelerate and brake while Wilkins is driving. “

The news that Wickens arrived at IMSA full-time was received with great enthusiasm by the president of the series.

“Everyone here in Daytona is very pleased to welcome Robert to the IMSA family and endure sports car racing,” John Dounan told RACER. “Robert is an absolute inspiration and a brilliant example of a” never give up “attitude, given all that he, his wife Kali, and their family have faced over the last two years. It is simply noteworthy to see his progress through his physiotherapy session. As a fellow racer, I admire Robert’s spirit and what he has accomplished in his career. I am very much looking forward to what he is trying to accomplish over the years to come. “

BHA will defend the 2021 IMPC TCR Championship won by Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis and head for a new season with the aim of winning the title for the fourth consecutive year at Hyundai. Wickens returns to race with Hyundai and BHA

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