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Former IndyCar Driver Robert Wickens Turns First Laps In Single-Seater

portland international raceway, united states of america june 28 robert wickens during the portland eprix i at portland international raceway on friday june 28, 2024 in portland, united states of america photo by simon galloway  lat images
Robert Wickens Turns First Laps In Single-Seater Simon Galloway
  • Robert Wickens began his motorsport career in karting, achieving FIA Formula 2 championship race wins, winning the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 championship and was a reserve driver for Virgin Racing in Formula 1.

  • Despite a severe crash in 2018 that left him paralyzed, Wickens made a remarkable comeback, competing in the TCR class of IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge and becoming TCR class champion in 2023.

  • The GEN3 Formula E car, modified for Wickens to drive with hand controls, represents a leap in technology and sustainability, as well as a benchmark for motorsport series’ worldwide championing inclusivity on-track


Robert Wickens has taken his first laps in a single-seat racecar as he looks towards a return to open wheel racing for the first time since an IndyCar crash at Pocono Raceway in 2018 left him a paraplegic.

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The 35-year-old took laps in Formula E’s GEN3 car at Portland International Raceway.

Wickens did not just turn demo laps but used the test to evaluate opportunities for a full-time return to single-seater racing in the future. He started his return to racing just over three years after his accident testing a specifically modified Hyundai with hand controls at Mid-Ohio raceway. He returned to full-time racing in 2022 competing in the Michelin Pilot Challenge with Bryan Herta Autosport in the Hyundai winning the TCR drivers’ championship with teammate Harry Gottsacker in 2023.

“It was such an amazing opportunity to drive the GEN3 car yesterday,” Wickens said. “Formula E has been a series that I’ve been keeping a close eye on for quite a while, but I never knew how I could get myself into the series. A huge thanks to Formula E and SPARK for their ingenuity and for developing a hand control system for me to drive the car in Portland.”

His ultimate goal is a return to IndyCar where he was named Rookie of the Year at the Indy 500 in 2018, the same season as his crash. But for now, the immediate goal is a spot on the Formula E grid.

“It was only a few laps, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it left me wanting a lot more,” Wickens said. “Hopefully this will lead to more opportunities in the future and possibly a rookie test. I think right now, that would be the goal for me, to try and get onto the grid in Formula E for the future.”

portland international raceway, united states of america june 28 robert wickens in the gen3 championship car during the portland eprix i at portland international raceway on friday june 28, 2024 in portland, united states of america photo by simon galloway lat images
“It was only a few laps, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it left me wanting a lot more,” Wickens said.Simon Galloway

And the Formula E series seems eager to make a spot for him.

Jeff Dodds, Formula E CEO, said:

“Throughout his career, Robert has proven his speed and talent, and since his accident, his determination and dedication to return to the sport we love has been nothing short of awe-inspiring,” Jeff Dodds, Formula E CEO said.

“I’ve been following Robert’s career for a number of years, and it’s clear he was always destined for motorsport success. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive championship led by technology and innovation, and thanks to SPARK, our ambitions to provide greater accessibility for talented racing drivers have been made possible.

“Robert’s passion and commitment to a full-time return to single-seater racing are clear, and I’m hopeful this drive will open doors for his future.”