The drive of the day in the iRacing IndyCar Challenge event at virtual Barber Motorsports Park came from Robert Wickens. Starting last after crashing in qualifying, the Canadian charged from 29th to finish eighth in his first virtual appearance and first competition of any sort since being seriously injured at Pocono in 2018.
“My return to IndyCar was exactly how I imagined it — in my basement,” said Wickens, who used a special hand-controls only sim set-up designed by SimCraft. “No, I’m kidding. It was a riot. First off I was so mad at myself in qualifying. I had an OK lap going — I was on route to 1m06s, and then I spun out in the last corner, which I had never done the entire time I’ve been on the sim! That screwed up one whole lap; so I didn’t do a lap.
“So I started last, then we made the bold strategy of trying to make it on the one stop under yellow. So I thought that I was giving my best race primarily because when I was saving fuel there was a better chance of me not spinning out.
“(We did) the whole race after that yellow flag, and we just made it with 0.02 gallons left at the finish line.
“It was a good teamwork. It was great to have the Arrow McLaren SP engineer in my ear the whole time. In a way, it felt like a real thing. My eyes are burning. I might need to invest in some of those blue light glasses. But I can’t thank SimCraft enough for giving me this rig. I feel like I have an advantage on my competitors for the quality of sim that I have in the home.
“I’ll take that in my pocket and keep working with these hand controls,” Wickens went on. “I can’t wait to try Max Papis’ steering wheel — a MPI steering wheel that I didn’t get a chance to try before this race. I’m just excited. I got in the top 10. I think that was a good day.”