James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens are Canada’s fastest exports! These two have lots more in common than their current IndyCar race team, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
How old were you when you started racing? How long have you known each other?
RW: I started racing when I was 7 years old. My parents told me I’d have to stop playing baseball, football, and hockey. Similar to James I raced regionally in Ontario and met James when I was 12, right around when we started racing the higher levels of karting across North America.
JH: I got a go kart for my ninth birthday and off we went. I met Robbie a few years later, when I was 14, when we were both stepping up out of just racing regionally in Ontario and going to the ‘pro’ circuit all around North America.
What were some deciding factors in pursuing racing in North America vs. Europe early in your career?
RW: Making career choices are never easy. Especially when you have to make those decisions at a young age. I was in the Red Bull driver development program and they were a very large reason to why I ended up going to Europe to pursue an F1 career. As a kid I always wanted to be in Formula 1, so it was a no brainer for me to jump into that adventure. I moved to Europe in 2008 before I had turned 18 years old. It really made me the person I am today.
JH: I had a chance to go to Europe in 2005 after winning rookie of the year in FBMW. BMW offered me a seat in their UK series, and it would’ve been a good foot in the door to try and go the F1 route. Ultimately Mom and Dad made the decision, as they didn’t feel it was right at that age to abandon schooling in case Racing didn’t work out. It really ended up being the right call for me.
Now that you are on the same team in Indy car, what have you noticed about each other’s racing style?
RW: It’s pretty cool! We’ve always had a very competitive friendship. As kids it didn’t matter what we were doing, somehow it became a game or a competition. As adults that hasn’t changed! We keep pushing each other with every level of our game and it is making both of us stronger.
JH: I think the biggest thing we’ve found is
how similar we are! Yes, there are some small differences or small preferences, but one of the strongest assets we’ve had this season was being able to help each other develop a setup and both be able to drive it.