IndyCar

Robert Wickens has more surgeries, will transfer to rehab facility; full list of injuries released

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IndyCar driver Robert Wickens is recovering after undergoing additional surgeries this week at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced Thursday.

Wickens underwent successful surgeries this week to repair fractures on both of his legs and hands sustained in a violent crash at Pocono Raceway on August 19.

According to a statement from the team, “Wickens is expected to be transferred to a rehabilitation center in the coming days to begin the recovery process. The severity of the spinal cord injury he sustained in the incident remains indeterminate and under evaluation. Physicians stress it could take weeks or months for the full effects of the injury to be known.”

Wickens had previously undergone surgeries over the last two weeks on a thoracic spinal column fracture, lower extremities and his right arm.

Thursday’s announcement revealed the full extent of Wickens’ injuries, stating, “In an effort to remain transparent and open, we are providing a list of Robert’s injuries to truly showcase the severity of what our son / brother / fiancé / friend / teammate has gone through and will be recovering from in the months to come.”

The injuries Wickens sustained in the crash were:

  • Thoracic spinal fracture
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Neck fracture
  • Tibia and fibula fractures to both legs
  • Fractures in both hands
  • Fractured right forearm
  • Fractured elbow
  • Four fractured ribs
  • Pulmonary contusion

“The IndyCar community has been nothing but supportive the last few weeks,” SPM co-owners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson said in a statement. “We are grateful for their support as well as the exceptional care given to Robert by the AMR IndyCar Safety Team, the IndyCar Medical Staff, the surgeons and nursing staff at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest and everyone at IU Health Methodist Hospital.”

The co-owners also stated that the team’s No. 6 Honda will be waiting for him when he returns to racing.

“While Robert continues his recovery, we want to make it clear that the No. 6 entry is for Robert Wickens and him only,” the Schmidt/Peterson statement added. “No matter the amount of time it takes for his full recovery, we will hold that seat for him.

“Carlos Muñoz, the named driver for the last two events on the 2018 calendar, is doing a great job for us to keep the No. 6 owner championship points alive, and we very much appreciate all the hard work he’s putting into helping us finish the season.

“The road to Robert’s recovery will be a long and tough one, but we hope you’ll be alongside us cheering him on. BETTER. STRONGER. FASTER.”

In a statement, the Wickens family also thanked everyone for their concern and support for the Canadian driver, who was in his rookie season in the Verizon IndyCar Series:

“We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, prayers and positive energy that has been sent our way since Robert’s accident. We are blown away by the strength of this IndyCar community and the support within it.

“While Robert’s recovery and rehabilitation continue over the coming weeks and months, your loving messages will certainly be a source of encouragement for him.”

On Wednesday, Wickens was named Sunoco IndyCar Rookie of the Year, even though he will have missed the last three-plus races of the season.

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.