Robert Wickens watched most of Friday’s second practice session from the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports timing stand after an engine issue sidelined his No. 6 Honda. The Canadian rookie was only able to turn five laps before a water leak was found, and with a related loss of water pressure, the 28-year-old parked his car before something catastrophic took place.
“If there’s no water in the engine, then it overheats and then it blows up, so we took precautions to keep the engine alive,” he told IndyCar Radio.
Among the more impressive items from the second practice was Wickens’ pace in those five early laps. His SPM entry sat inside the top 10 for most of the session, and was only relegated to a final position of 16th when drivers went out on low fuel and new tires to conduct qualifying simulations. Wickens’ countryman and teammate James Hinchcliffe turned 21 laps in the sister No. 5 Honda and was 18th fastest.
“You have an hour [of] Free Practice 2 here in Barber and we did two competitive lap times,” he added. “We’re just watching everyone else improve their cars and do better, so it’s pretty disappointing.”