Robert Wickens will drive an Acura NSX equipped with special hand controls at the Honda Indy Toronto this weekend, marking the first time the 30-year-old Canadian has driven in public since his IndyCar crash at Pocono Raceway last August.
Wickens, with his fiance Karli Woods as passenger, will drive the car during the parade lap for the IndyCar race on Sunday. The special hand controls were installed by long-time Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports partner Arrow Electronics.
Wickens made the announcement in a video posted to his Twitter profile Monday afternoon.
“I’m just so excited. I can’t wait to get a helmet on,” Wickens said in the video.
Since his crash last August, Wickens has been documenting his rehabilitation process via Twitter and Instagram, keeping fans and competitors alike up to date on his progress, and serving as an inspiration to many.
Wickens first returned to the IndyCar paddock at the season-opener in St. Petersburg in March, where he first had discussions with Arrow representatives about the possibility of getting into a race car again.
The new and improved No. 6 is equipped with upgraded technology, and with @RobertWickens back behind the wheel, these simple modifications will make the Acura NSX debut in Toronto a ride to remember. pic.twitter.com/hmkyXSDdcA
“I’m so excited to see everybody during the Honda Indy Toronto weekend. I can’t thank Arrow enough. I can’t thank the Honda/Acura group enough. I can’t thank Green Savoree enough for making this happen,” Wickens said. “I just can’t wait to get going.”
“I need to learn these hand control stuff to see how quick I am – and I’m going to be driving as fast as I can.”
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.