Robert Wickens is one of the top Canadian racing drivers who most recently competed in the IndyCar Series, taking the Rookie of the Year award in 2018. Unfortunately, his rookie season prematurely ended with a crash at Pocono Raceway in August 2018, which left him a paraplegic. He is still recovering from injuries and planning to return to racing some day.
Earlier in a career, Wickens spent six years as Mercedes driver in the DTM. Prior to that, he was Formula 1 test driver in 2011, Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion in 2011, GP3 Series vice-champion in 2010, FIA Formula Two vice-champion in 2009 and Formula BMW USA champion in 2006.
Robert Tyler Wickens born on March 13, 1989, in Toronto. He started his racing career in karting at the age of 12 and during four years he has won many national championships in the various classes before switching to formula racing.
He earned a BMW junior scholarship what allowed him to compete in Formula BMW USA in 2005. Robert was named Rookie of the Year after winning two races and taking 3rd place overall. He also qualified for the Formula BMW World Final where he was 6th.
In 2006, the Canadian driver stayed in the series with Team Apex Racing but when he became a member of Red Bull Junior Team, Wickens moved to the Eurointernational team and immediately showed what he has by winning the title, with three race wins and seven podium finishes.
The same year Robert appeared as a guest in two races of Formula BMW ADAC and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. For the second time, Wickens qualified for the Formula BMW World Final and in his second appeareing, he was 8th.
The Champ Car Atlantic Series was the next stop in Robert’s career. During the season of 2007, he won one race and had other three podium finishes what was enough for the 3rd place in the final standings. Later in the season, he had four starts in Formula Renault 3.5 Series driving for Carlin Motorsport and also debuted in A1 Grand Prix, scoring one win and finishing 9th overall.
In 2008, Wickens moved to Europe and combined his duties in two competitions. Driving for Carlin Motorsport in Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Robert finished 12th in the final standings, with one race win on his account, while in Formula 3 Euroseries, driving for Signature-Plus team, Rob finished 15th, again with one race win.
The Formula 2 World championship was revamped in 2009 and Wickens was the only North American driver in the series. His results were good and the Canadian driver finished the season as a vice-champion driving for Motorsport Vision. Wickens scored two wins and had a total of six podiums, but at the end, he was 51 points short in the championship battle, losing to Andy Soucek.
The same year Wickens also appeared as a guest in the British Formula 3, Formula 3 Euroseries, and Atlantic Championship, but failed to score notable results. However, he was ready for the new challenge in the following campaign.
Driving for Status Grand Prix in 2010 GP3 Series, Wickens again was a vice-champion, this time losing to Esteban Gutierrez by 17 points. Robert won the races at Hockenheim, Spa, and Monza and finished 2nd at Catalunya, Valencia, Hungaroring, and Monza. That results weren’t unnoticed and many Formula 1 teams were interested in signing him, especially after Robert was the only North American potential rookie driver with the FIA super licence.
Finally, in 2011 Wickens became a test and reserve driver for Marussia Virgin Racing F1 team but never got an opportunity to race.
Nevertheless, that year was really good for the Canadian as he won Formula Renault 3.5 Series driving for Carlin Motorsport. In the very tight season, Wickens grabbed the crown beating his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne by 9 points. He had five race wins that year – at Spa, Nurburgring, Catalunya and twice at Silverstone.
That was Rob’s final season in the open-wheel racing. In 2012, he became a member of revived Mercedes-Benz Junior Team, alongside Roberto Merhi and Christian Vietoris. They raced in DTM that season and were tutored by seven-time Formula 1 World champion Michael Schumacher.
The first year in the new competition was relatively hard for Wickens who managed to collect points in only three races and finished 16th in the Drivers’ championship.
The season of 2013 was much better. Wickens scored his maiden victory at Nurburgring, finished 2nd at Norisring and 3rd at Brands Hatch before taking 5th place overall with 70 points. In the following season, Robert won the race at Norisring but that was his only top 3 result, so he dropped to the 12th place overall.
Wickens finished 13th in 2015 DTM, again after an excellent weekend at Norisring which became his favorite track. Robert finished 2nd in the first race and won the second one. Unfortunately, he picked points in only three other races what wasn’t a surprise knowing that most of the Mercedes drivers struggled that year.
In 2016, his fifth campaign in DTM, Wickens established himself as one of the Mercedes’ leading drivers and title contenders. For the first time, he managed to score more than one race win after being the fastest at Zandvoort and Moscow Raceway. At the end, he finished fourth in the final standings.
In 2017, Wickens scored one more DTM victory (at Nurburgring), his sixth in a career, to finish ninth in the points. It turned to be his last year in the DTM.
For the 2018 season, Wickens made a drastic change. He moved to the IndyCar Series. He joined his Canadian friend James Hinchcliffe in the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The start of the season was fantastic as Wickens took the pole position in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He led for most of the race but crashed just two laps before the end. In the next race, at Phoenix, he reached maiden podium.
Later in the season, he was on a podium three more times before having a horrific accident at Pocono Raceway which put him out of racing for a long time. However, he collected enough points to take the Rookie of the Year award.