'Team Canada' is ready to roll with James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens
The unofficial “Team Canada” of IndyCar is sure to stir up support in maple leaf country and bring some new fans into the sport with its lineup, made up of two great drivers with great personalities. With Robert Wickens and James Hinchcliffe leading the charge for Schmidt Peterson, the American series is bound to gain more traction further up north.
After a decade rubbing wheels with the very best in the European circuit and a six-year-long stint in the DTM, Robert Wickens joins IndyCar after a prolongued back-and-forth that started last year. His open wheel pedigree is unquestioned. In 2011, he claimed the coveted Formula Renault 3.5 title, beating Jean-Éric Vergne, Alex Rossi and Daniel Ricciardo in the process.
Although the DTM crown eluded him, he managed to win at least one race in all but his rookie season in Germany. He also established himself as one of the most outspoken drivers in the grid and somewhat of a fan favourite. Also, Wickens’ partner Karli Woods is a professional video game streamer and cosplayer, which explains why his timeline features the occasional anime or video game character.
Could Wickens help IndyCar tap into an unexplored geek market?
Both SPM drivers have a strong social media game, engaging with their fans in an authentic, tongue-in-cheek style that SPM’s digital team have be trying to exploit lately through some playful video productions. Hinchcliffe has also featured in the American contest show "Dancing With the Stars", where he claimed second place in 2016, putting himself further into the mainstream spotlight.
The Mayor of Hinchtown is also an avid ice hockey fan and recently declared himself a follwer of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs after appearing in one of the team's official podcasts as a guest.
There is little doubt that "Team Canada" will be a crowd pleaser on and off the track throughout 2018.