Schmidt Peterson Motorsport has announced that rapid endurance and former Verizon IndyCar Series racer Ryan Briscoe is to replace the injured James Hinchcliffe in this Sunday’s Indy 500.
Hinchcliffe – who is thankfully well on the road to recovery in hospital – crashed heavily at the weekend in the most serious of the five IndyCar crashes which have occurred so far at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
He was ruled out of the race so the #5 entry will be occupied by former Indy 500 pole sitter Ryan Briscoe – who raced in the series full-time until his departure to Corvette’s GTLM programme in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at the end of 2014.
A man with a lot of experience, the Australian will no doubt do Hinch proud as well as team owner Sam Schmidt.
Schmidt told Racer.com: “We explored quite a few options and felt confident in Briscoe. We were glad he was available and willing to drive for us with such short notice. Obviously, this was not a situation we were expecting to be in for the biggest race of the year but we’re making the best of it. Our thoughts and prayers are with James and his family right now.”
Briscoe, who has taken eight wins in the Verizon IndyCar Series, said to local newspaper The IndyStar: “”You sort of prepare for this race often a year out and you visualise how you’re going to go through practice, all the prep you’ve got to do and the whole process. Something like this comes up and you throw it out the window.
“Being such a professional team and the level of experience there is on the team, I felt comfortable and confident in accepting the offer. Honestly, I wish Hinch was here but it’s an opportunity that’s been given to me and I’m excited for it.”
The 99th Indy 500 gets underway on Sunday.