Following a year on the sidelines, it has been announced that Yorkshireman James Jakes is back in the Verizon IndyCar Series for 2015 having been announced as the team mate of James Hinchcliffe at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Jakes, who drove for Dale Coyne Racing in 2011 & 2012 as well as Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2013, has rejoined the top flight of American single seater racing following a year away in 2014 after RLL shrunk to one car.
He will replace the ELMS bound Mikhail Aleshin at the team and was ecstatic at being handed a full time round this season. He said: “First of all, a big thank you to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to test last week in NOLA after 16 months away. I’m extremely excited and motivated to drive the No. 7 Honda SPM Indy car in 2015.
“The team has done a fantastic job over the past few seasons and I look forward to continuing that progress. I believe that – between myself and James [Hinchcliffe] – we can really push the team to the top of this sport. I’m excited to be working alongside him as we look to help Honda in maximizing the new aero kits. It’s going to be an exciting year and I cannot wait to get started in St. Pete.”
As Jakes mentioned, with the new aero kits being brought in by Chevy and Honda, the field has somewhat levelled out a bit for the Brit with everyone needing to get up to speed on the new configurations – but team boss Sam Schmidt believes the two James’ will push the team forward.
He said: “We are very pleased that James will be competing with SPM in the No. 7 for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar season. The goal of the team when it moved to IndyCar in 2011 was to get to the point where we had two veteran drivers in the car, capable of pushing each other. This finally checks that box.
“Even with 16 months out of the car, James was immediately up to speed at NOLA last week and contributed to the successful test of the team. We look forward to continuing the tradition that has been established over the past three seasons of winning races and competing for the Championship.”
The next time Jakes will be able to test the DW12 will be at the group test at Barber Motorsport Park on March 16-17 before the season gets underway two weeks later at St Petersburg.