DAYTONA--In 2018 Robert Wickens was the top rookie at the Indy 500. Then a wreck at Pocono nearly killed him. He was set to race for the first time since that wreck Friday at Daytona.
Wickens can’t walk and still has many limitations, but he can race thanks to a car built for him, but shared by other team members. The throttle is mounted behind the steering wheel and is controlled with a pushing and pulling motion.
“I prefer this option because I can actually choose my right or left hand, depending on the corner we’re going into,” he said, in a video demonstrating the Hyundai Elantra. Wickens also has a brake on the wheel that is connected to the physical brake pedal, so that when another team member drives they can switch to a normal mode.
He calls the car innovative.
“It’s pretty rugged. It’s super simple, but very effective. We’re constantly tuning it to make it better. So far it’s feeling pretty good.”
Since the wreck Wickens has gotten married and his wife is now expecting their first child. The Canadian has undergone hundreds of hours of physical therapy and may never walk normally again, but is optimistic that his racing career will still be a way for him to earn money and do what he loves.