We come next to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in our look at the field of teams for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series. Consistently the biggest thorn in the “big teams” sides, can they keep it up this year with a pair of new drivers?
Team: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Engines/aero kits: Honda
Sponsors: Arrow Electronics/Spyder Active Wear (No. 5), Mediatech Advertising (No. 7)
Wins: 2 (Pagenaud)
Podiums: 4 (Pagenaud 3, Aleshin 1)
Pole Positions: 1 (Pagenaud)
Fastest Laps: 3 (Pagenaud)
Points: 966 (Pagenaud 565, Aleshin 372, Villeneuve 29)
Laps Led: 63 (Pagenaud 59, Aleshin 4)
Championship Position: 5th (Pagenaud), 16th (Aleshin)
2015 LINEUP (Engineers in parentheses)
5 James Hinchcliffe (Allen McDonald)
7 James Jakes (Dan Hobbs)
Simon Pagenaud finished his three-year run with Schmidt Peterson in contention for the IndyCar title down to the final race in Fontana, albeit largely thanks to the double points on offer there. The Auto Club Speedway weekend was a nightmare for the team to end what had been a decent season. Pagenaud fought through a challenging evening a night after teammate Mikhail Aleshin had a devastating accident up against the catch fencing. It cast a sour ending on a year when Pagenaud won twice and was Honda’s top driver, and Aleshin surprised in his rookie season.
Both drivers are out and the new all-James lineup figures to have some moments of glory throughout 2015, if not achieve the same title contention status that Pagenaud did the last two years. Hinchcliffe will embrace his new role as team leader in a two-car environment and seeks a return to winning after a trying 2014. Back after a year’s absence, Jakes will post an occasional qualifying run or result of note here or there but otherwise isn’t likely to threaten the pacesetters regularly. Key to note here is the absence of team manager Rob Edwards, now at Andretti Autosport, but the SPM team should work diligently to keep itself nipping at Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti’s respective heels.