Justin Wilson looks set to miss the rest of the 2011 IndyCar season as a result of his back injury sustained during last weekend’s round at Mid-Ohio, with his Dreyer & Reinbold team confirming that Tomas Scheckter will replace the Briton at this weekend’s Indy 225 at New Hampshire Speedway.
Wilson sustained his back injury – diagnosed as a stable burst fracture of the fifth thoracic vertebra – when he ran over an access road after running off the circuit during Saturday free practice. The car bottomed out heavily, resulting in the injury to the 33-year-old.
The former F1 driver will be out of the cockpit for at least three months, and is required to wear a back brace to stabilise the area. He has now been released from hospital.
“I have a little bit of a backache, but I’m just frustrated to not be at the racetrack,” Wilson has said after being discharged.
“I’m just disappointed to not be in the car, but my back is the most important thing. I’m going to try and get that to heal and get back to 100 percent as soon as possible and get back in the car.”
He also acknowledged the tributes and well-wishes from fans and fellow drivers, particularly the many that were sent via Twitter.
“The response has been incredible and it’s really nice to see that it’s on Twitter from the fans, or drivers and ex-drivers,” he added. “Everyone has been really supportive, so thank you to all of them.”
As for Scheckter, he will be making his second IndyCar appearance of the season, having driven for KV Racing in a third car at the Indianapolis 500. He has completed a total of fourteen events for D&R over the last three seasons and was, as such, a sensible choice for the outfit.
“We know him [Scheckter] and he knows us, and it will take him only two or three laps to know what he needs out of the car and how we can adjust it,” Dreyer & Reinbold general manager Larry Curry said.
However, the South African is only confirmed for this weekend’s oval round, and the team has indicated it could look to other drivers for the three road course events still scheduled on the calendar.
[Images via LAT]