IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: James Jakes

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MotorSportsTalk continues its look through the Verizon IndyCar Series, driver-by-driver, with a look next at James Jakes. The Englishman returned to the series this year after a one-year hiatus.

James Jakes, No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda

  • 2013: 19th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 2nd, 1 Podium, 1 Top-5, 3 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 14.2 Avg. Start, 15.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 16th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 5th, 1 Podium, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 7 Laps Led, 16.2 Avg. Start, 15.9 Avg. Finish

I’ve written in the past about other drivers that sometimes, being anonymous can be worse than being controversial. Such was the case for James Jakes this year, who continued with his unofficial role as IndyCar’s “Stig” where you barely noticed him, for reasons both good and bad, throughout 2015.

Jakes was a fairly safe choice alongside fellow James, James Hinchcliffe, at an all-new 2015 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports lineup. Jakes is smarter than you realize, a surprisingly good quote, and a dependable shoe that rarely makes mistakes; he’s realistically on pace and occasionally surprises with a dynamic weekend.

Things started nicely when Hinchcliffe and Jakes delivered a shock, strategy-aided 1-3 in the swamp that was NOLA Motorsports Park. Things didn’t really go that well again, although Jakes’ highlight races beyond NOLA were definitely the ovals, where was impressive under-the-radar.

Finishes of ninth at Texas, seventh at Fontana and 10th at Pocono were all decent and he was also one of six drivers who finished all three 500-mile races this year. His only DNFs came by way of a mechanical in Milwaukee, which was a shame considering he posted a dynamic fifth place qualifying effort, and brake failure in Sonoma.

The fact Jakes had a primarily gray car served as a perfect metaphor for his season. It was there, blending into the track, rarely noticed too much unless you were paying really close attention.