One of the few remaining driver-engineer questions in the IndyCar Series has been answered as James Hinchcliffe and Will Anderson will continue their race-winning relationship next season at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
After years of learning in the assistant engineer role, Anderson was promoted to race engineer in 2018 as part of the technical alliance between SPM and Meyer Shank Racing, where he was farmed out to run the part-time No. 60 MSR Honda piloted by Jack Harvey.
With an unexpected vacancy in the race engineering role on Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Honda following the Indy 500, Anderson was asked to split his time between both entries, earning his first race win with the SPM veteran at the Iowa Corn 300 in July. When MSR duties required his presence with the No. 60, SPM technical director Todd Malloy filled in for Anderson on the No. 5.
With Hinchcliffe set to contest the full 17-race calendar, and MSR looking to expand last season’s six-race program to 10 rounds in 2019, SPM general manager Taylor Kiel says shifting Anderson over to take engineering control of the Canadian’s car makes sense.
“That’s our plan and James wants Will,” Kiel told RACER. “It’s a big move to go from being an assistant engineer, to part-time race engineer, to a full schedule. But I think he’s proven that he’s fully capable. The last questions were: Does the driver have confidence in him; was the fit right; does the team think Will’s the man? And I think those were all answered.”
SPM and MSR are engaged in a hunt for a new race engineer to take Anderson’s place on the No. 60.
“We’re both in the search together and Will provided a huge benefit last year, so we’re looking to help Mike Shank find somebody in a partnership that benefits our team and their team in a fully cooperative program,” Kiel said. “When we interview someone here, [Shank] gets a call right afterwards and we discuss our thoughts, so everyone’s engaged.”