Andretti Autosport has named a driver to pilot the late Justin Wilson's car at Sonoma.
Andretti Autosport announced Thursday that the No. 25 Honda of Justin Wilson will still race at Sonoma, despite his tragic death. Oriol Servia has been selected as the driver and will race in honor of the fallen IndyCar star.
A close friend
"This is the most difficult quote I have ever had to come up with," said Servia. "The situation is so difficult on so many levels for obvious reasons that it’s hard for the words to come out the right way. I have known and raced Justin for more than 10 years. I have an enormous amount of respect for him as a racer, but his qualities as a human were definitely an inspiration to anyone who ever met him.
“As I said earlier this week, I truly feel he was one of these souls who has evolved a lot more than the rest of us, and it is something you could feel immediately during your first exchange with him. He will be greatly missed as we all try to emulate his spirit.
"I am honored and emotional with the opportunity of driving his car this weekend. I want to thank my friends at Andretti Autosport for the opportunity, and I want to express how deeply touched I am by the desire of Julia, Stefan and all the Wilson family to have me driving the No. 25. "
Servia has 196 starts between IndyCar and CART, winning once. The experienced racer also took part in the inaugural season of Formula E. His lone IndyCar start in 2015 came in the Indianapolis 500, driving a second Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry.
Racing in honor of Justin
“Justin was a true racer and advocate to our sport,” said team owner Michael Andretti. “We will have Justin and his family in our hearts this weekend as we honor him in the way he would want us to, by doing what he loved – racing.”
The Wilson family was also supportive of the decision to put Oriol in the car. "As a family, we cannot imagine a better person to race in Justin’s honor than Oriol (Servia),” said Justin's younger brother Stefan Wilson. "His path and Justin’s crossed in many different ways through the years. As a competitor, and also as a person, he carries Justin’s spirit well, and we know that Justin would approve.”
Supporting the children he left behind
American Honda and HPD will contribute $50 per lap completed at Sonoma by each of the 13 Honda entries at this weekend’s race for a possible donation of just over $55,000 to the Wilson Children’s Fund.
“Justin was a valuable member of our racing program, but he also was our friend, and all of us at American Honda and HPD grieve together at his loss,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. “We’re hoping to honor his memory with this pledge, and hope that Justin’s many fans and friends can also assist the family at this tragic time.”