After receiving support from the company in his early years of racing, Robert Wickens says he’s excited to come “full circle” with Pfaff as the Canadian makes his IMSA iRacing Pro Series debut this week in a Pfaff Plaid Porsche 911 RSR.
The 31-year-old former DTM driver and Indianapolis 500 rookie-of-the-year, will drive the Motul-sponsored Porsche in the final three rounds of the series beginning with Thursday’s round at virtual Road America (6 p.m. ET).
“I’ve known of Pfaff Motorsports since I was 11 years old,” Wickens said. “Racing in the Ron Fellows Karting Championship, Pfaff was influential in that series.
“The ability to have prize money for pole position, and the driver of the day awards was such a cool thing for all Canadian drivers.
“It allowed so many young Canadians to gather and compete in the same series, and I gained a lot of great experience from it. It’s really cool nearly 20 years later to come full circle and work with Chris Pfaff and the entire team.”
Wickens’ simulator and iRacing experience has been a major facet of his motorsports career and development.
Following a 2018 IndyCar accident that left him paralyzed from the waist-down, Wickens has focused on virtual platforms to continue his training and rehabilitation in anticipation of his return, bridging the gap between the real and virtual worlds in the process.
Using a SimCraft APEX1 simulator at home, Wickens has been working closely with the manufacturer to test and develop innovative hand controls that can be further developed by the Arrows McLaren SP IndyCar team, Arrows Electronics, and McLaren for real-world racing and driving applications.
“It’s a global team effort,” Wickens said. “On the IndyCar side of things, between Arrows Electronics and McLaren, we have some phenomenal resources. Especially for Arrows Electronics, they’re always thinking five years out and how they can better the world, so this is a great opportunity.”
For Pfaff Motorsports team manager Steve Bortolotti, that determination was a major motivator to sign the driver for the remaining three rounds of the IMSA Pro Series.
“We’re very excited for Robert to represent Pfaff Motorsports and our partners for the remaining IMSA iRacing Pro Series events,” he said. “We’ve admired his accomplishments both on and off the track for many years, so when the opportunity presented itself to work together in the iRacing series, it was a no-brainer.”
Bortolotti says Pfaff will provide engineering and strategy support to assist with chassis setup, as well as live race strategy during for all three events.
Wickens spent the weekend acquainting himself with the virtual Porsche, and while he says he doesn’t have too many expectations going into his first race this week, he’s proud to be competing with the Pfaff organization and wearing plaid while doing so.
“The great thing with Pfaff is that they’re racers down to their bones. I think that’s obvious,” he said.
“They’re just a great group of people to deal with. I’ve had the plaid for a while now. I like it, the fans like it, and it’s been a great trademark and a way to bring people together. It’s very cool to be racing together for these events, so I’m very much looking forward to getting underway.”