Four years removed since his last full-time drive, Tomas Scheckter has said his open-wheel career in America is at the crossroads. Should his efforts to secure a full-time ride for 2012 do not materialise, he has admitted that he may consider seeking employment in another series.
With several new and returning teams taking part next year, Scheckter knows his best chance for regular race action is now. Widely regarded as having the speed and the prowess, as well as a famous surname, it is one of the great mysteries how Scheckter, who once beat twice F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso in one of his last Formula Nissan races, isn’t the one being chased for a seat.
The 31-year old, who hasn’t driven a full season since 2007 with Vision Racing (pictured left), learned his craft road racing in Europe, yet since coming to America to pursue glory in the IndyCar Series, has found his aptitude on ovals to far surpass his background of turning right and left.
Blaming a lack of comfort in the old Dallara, Scheckter claims that despite no testing in the new car, his history with road racing and label as an oval specialist should assist him with finding a seat for 2012.
“It always felt like I was driving a tractor around and the steering is so heavy it seemed like I lost a lot of feel. To go quick in Europe you had to late brake, be smooth and let the car flow but I always feel like I’m sawing the steering wheel in an IndyCar. I’ve been road racing since I was eleven and I haven’t forgotten anything I learned but I struggled to find the old car’s limits.”
Heading across the Atlantic, Scheckter found success early in the IndyCar series and a competitive car with Red Bull Cheever Racing. With a victory in his debut season claimed by the barest of margins at Michigan in 2002, Scheckter’s star was on the rise as he raced at the front with several competitive teams over the next few years, including another victory at Texas in 2005.
However a reputation for frequently crashing did its damage and Scheckter found himself slipping down the grid into less competitive teams, before ultimately being used only part-time from 2008 and beyond.
[Images via LAT]