Mercedes protege Wickens secures popular first DTM win this weekend

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Formula One, is, for the moment, devoid of Canadian drivers. There hasn’t been one since Jacques Villeneuve’s departure midway through 2006. One who was on the doorstep a couple years ago with Marussia and probably deserves further consideration in the years to come is 24-year-old Robert Wickens, who took home his first DTM victory over the weekend.

“I’m overwhelmed with the kind words from all of you. Thank you for making this moment extra special! Thank you so much! Vielen Dank jeder!” Wickens tweeted Monday.

Wickens, a star in American open-wheel racing for a number of years, has since moved to Europe and has won the World Series by Renault championship in 2011. He shifted to DTM with Mercedes in 2012.

A column by Canadian reporter Jeff Pappone in the Toronto Globe and Mail described Wickens’ charge Sunday at the Nurburgring. Wickens needed to rely on guile and perform a number of spectacular passes on a track that shifted from full wet to full dry conditions.

Earlier in 2013, Wickens had been promoted to a win at the Norisring following Mattias Ekstrom’s exclusion. A later ruling from the German motorsport federation determined Ekstrom’s exclusion would stand, but everyone from second on back would be classified in their original positions. That left Wickens in an odd situation of having been classified as the first finisher, but not race winner.

Still, this one stuck, and serves notice of his potential and ability level as yet another single-seater driver having some success in tin-tops.

Below is an intro to Wickens via his sponsor Stihl, done at the start of the season.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.