Robert Wickens is getting back on a racetrack during an NTT IndyCar Series weekend.
Wickens confirmed Monday on social media that he will drive an Acura NSX equipped with hand controls at Exhibition Place, where INDYCAR races this weekend. The necessary modifications have been made by Arrow, which sponsors the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team.
Wickens last raced in August 2018 when he was injured at Pocono Raceway. He is recovering from spinal cord injuries.
The Honda Indy Toronto is Wickens’ home race. He was raised in Guelph, Ontario, which is located about an hour west of Toronto.
Wickens called Monday's announcement “pretty exciting news.”
“Probably just as exciting as when I shared my first steps (following the accident),” he said in an Instagram post.
Wickens will drive the NSX on the parade lap prior to the start of Sunday’s 85-lap race with his fiancé, Karli Woods, in the passenger’s seat, he said. The race airs at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
I’M GETTING BACK IN A CAR! I’ll be doing the parade lap for the @hondaindy! This is just amazing and couldn’t happen without the help of @arrowelectronics installing the hand controls and @hondaracing_hpd @honda / @acura for trusting me with such an awesome car. I can’t wait to see everyone around the paddock this weekend! #IndyTO #ArrowDriven #acuransx #poweredbyhonda #spinalcordinjury
A post shared by Robert Wickens (@robertwickens) on
“Basically, I get to be pole position for the race – kinda – which is a blast,” he said. “I’m just so excited. I can’t wait to get a helmet on (and) go around in an amazing car.”
Wickens called having Woods as his co-pilot “fantastic because she’s by my chauffeur for the last little while … and sharing that moment is going to be pretty special.”
The Arrow program is designed to show how technology can be used to improve people’s lives. Wickens said plans for this ride began with a meeting with Arrow, Honda Performance Development (HPD) and the Arrow SPM team during INDYCAR’s season-opening weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla., in mid-March.
Wickens has stressed that driving with hand controls is not a substitute for driving the way he did prior to the accident. He has been pushing himself to walk unassisted as soon as possible.
Wickens, 30, will practice the NSX ahead of the pre-race demonstration.
“I just can’t wait to get going,” he said. “I need to learn these hand controls to see how quick I am. I’m going to be driving as fast as I can.”