INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 24, 2015) – James Hinchcliffe’s anticipation of returning to the racetrack Sept. 28 in the No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda is growing with each passing day.
“I expect to be grinning like an idiot for the first few runs,” said Hinchcliffe, who is scheduled to participate in a second round of Verizon IndyCar Series team testing at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
INDYCAR announced in August that the Road America Grand Prix on June 24-26 would be part of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Road America, the renowned permanent road course meandering through the Kettle Moraine area of east central Wisconsin, held its first race in 1955 and hosted Indy car races from 1982-2007.
The offseason test session is not open to the public but will be open to credentialed media, with driver media availabilities scheduled during the lunch break. It will mark the first on-track activity for Hinchcliffe since he sustained a serious thigh injury May 18 in a practice crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Toronto native underwent two surgeries and, following a recuperation period, has been incrementally rebuilding his physical fitness. He has been cleared to drive by the INDYCAR medical team.
“This is obviously the day that has been the goal and the motivation to get through the last four months,” said Hinchcliffe, who won at NOLA Motorsports Park in five 2015 starts before the on-track incident. “And the fact that it is at Road America, one of my favorite road courses in the country, makes it that much better.”
In August 2005, Hinchcliffe won the Pro Mazda race at Road America. He also has competed at the track in the Atlantic Championship (2006-08) and last year co-drove a Daytona Prototype during the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race weekend.
“I’m under no illusions that it won’t be a massively difficult day,” added Hinchcliffe, who will enter his second season with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2016. “Going to a track we haven’t run, on top of the physical stress of getting back in (a car), but that’s OK. I’m definitely ready for a little hard work.”
Other teams and drivers scheduled to participate in the test, with car number in parentheses, are:
Andretti Autosport: Marco Andretti (No. 27), Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28)
Dale Coyne Racing: Tristan Vautier (No. 19)
KVSH Racing: Sebastien Bourdais (No. 11)
Andretti and Hunter-Reay also are scheduled to test Oct. 5 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
On Sept. 22, 10 drivers turned laps on the 4.048-mile Road America course, including 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.
“It’s good to be back here, but quite strange coming back to such a large track,” said Dixon, who had last driven an Indy car at Road America in 2002. “The race itself should be pretty good and racing here is the heart of American road racing.”
For more information, visit www.roadamerica.com.