Formula E champion will test Nov. 2 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at Barber

Rahal testing Formula E
Sam Bloxham/FIA ABB Formula E/Getty Images
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Formula E Series champion Antonio Felix da Costa will be testing for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s NTT IndyCar Series team Nov. 2 at Barber Motorsports Park.

It will be the first time in an IndyCar for the five-time winner in Formula E.

The 29-year-old native of Cascais, Portugal, will be among several IndyCar drivers testing at Barber the week after the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“I have never hidden the fact that it’s a big dream of mine to come try out an Indy car,” da Costa said in a team release. “I am a big fan of how America, and IndyCar in particular, goes about the sport and have been a huge fan for many years.

“I have known Bobby for a few years. We always met at the BMW Christmas dinners and every year I kept saying ‘Come on, let me have a go,’ and finally now I got the call to come meet the team and test. It’s very exciting times for me and something I have been looking forward to a lot. The first contact with the team has been very positive and everyone has been friendly. I can see there is a high level of professionalism in the team which was to be expected. I’m excited to get on track.”

With Graham Rahal expecting his first child with wife Courtney, he would be unable to attend the test.

Antonio Felix da Costa won the 2020 Formula E championship in August after a season with three victories.

“We were unable to maximize a full team test using one of our three days, since Graham is waiting for the arrival of his first child so this enables us to test a young and very accomplished driver in Antonio Félix da Costa,” team co-owner Bobby Rahal said in a release. “Through our partnership with BMW on the sports car side, we have followed his career and are excited to see what he can do in an Indy car.”

The team has yet to announce its 2021 driver lineup, but Rahal said after Takuma Sato’s Indianapolis 500 victory that he hopes the two-time Indy 500 winner can return and also left open the possibility of expanding to a third car with adequate sponsorship.

Robert Wickens in the Indy 500? Bryan Herta making plans to field a car for next year

Robert Wickens Indy 500
Brett Farmer/LAT Images/IMSA
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bryan Herta wants to enter Robert Wickens in the Indy 500 as early as 2024 – a year longer than preferred as work continues on the hand controls needed for the paralyzed driver.

Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury in a crash at Pocono Raceway in his 2018 IndyCar rookie season. He’s worked as a driver coach for the Arrow McLaren IndyCar team since, but last year with Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai returned to racing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

The 33-year-old Canadian won a pair of races (including the season opener at Daytona) driving a Hyundai Elantra N-TCR that is fitted for Wickens to race strictly through hand controls. Herta said Thursday that perfecting that technology for an Indy car in the biggest race in the world has slowed the project he’s determined to do with Wickens.

‘I’M AS HUNGRY AS EVER’: Robert Wickens’ return to racing

“I’d love to take Robbie back to Indy because I know he could do that, and I think that would be a next step for him in his journey,” Herta told The Associated Press. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the logistical side of things, hand controls, and I think we have solutions for that.”

Herta said Honda has been supportive of the process, which Herta called “one of the most important things we’ve done in racing” last year.

“We actually looked at doing it this year, but the logistics of it, the timing, it just wasn’t enough,” Herta said. “That’s not something you can rush. There’s some things that we have to work very closely with IndyCar on, and things we just have to get right. It’s a process, but I can see a path to it.”

Wickens, when told his boss was openly discussing the Indy 500, grinned widely. Herta as a team owner won the Indianapolis 500 with Dan Wheldon and Alexander Rossi.

“That’d be fun,” he said of running the Indy 500.

But like Herta, Wickens said the effort has to be both done correctly and be competitive.

“We’d like to do it right. If we started right now, can we get a car ready for the open test in April? Probably,” Wickens told The AP. “But I don’t know where the systems would be and I want to get on proper simulators to make sure its correct.

“We all want to do a proper, professional effort,” he added. “I don’t want to do it for a marketing campaign. I want to do it for a chance to win.”

Wickens later tweeted about the possibility of racing the Indy 500 and said his goal was “always to get back to the top level of motorsport” whether it’s IndyCar or IMSA.

Wickens in 2021 did a demonstration in Canada that marketed advancements for paralyzed drivers and gave him a chance to again drive. His entire life had been upended 14 races into his rookie IndyCar season, just three months after winning top rookie honors at the Indianapolis 500.

Wickens has since married, returned to racing last year and welcomed the birth of his first child, an son named Wesley whom is infatuated with both race cars and the trip to Disney he took this week during the off days at Daytona International Speedway.

Wickens, who uses a wheelchair but can stand with some support, marks a full year back racing on Friday in the season-opening IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race. Despite success last season, Herta made changes to his lineups and Wickens this year will be teamed with Harry Gottsacker.