Brothers Sebastian and Oliver Wheldon, sons of the late Dan Wheldon, have joined Andretti Autosport‘s driver development program, the team announced on Friday.
The boys will carry the Andretti badge as they compete at the top national level of karting in the United States: Rok Cup USA, Super Karts USA and United States Pro Kart Series while competing with JC Karting. They will receive career oversight and advice from the Andretti team as they work their way up the Road to Indy ladder to potentially one day compete in the same series their father did.
“Dan was family to us, and we had a lot of on track success together,” said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti.
“We see a lot of Dan in both Sebastian and Oliver and are very proud to officially welcome them into our racing family. No one will ever be able to replace Dan in their lives, but we’re happy to offer a network for mentorship to help the boys grow their careers. Karting is the first step, but we have hopes of helping foster promising Road to Indy, and eventually even IndyCar opportunities.”
Susie Wheldon, the boys’ mother and widow of Dan, expressed her gratitude to the Andretti team for their help in the development of her sons.
“I am so grateful to Michael for taking Sebastian and Oliver under his wing,” she said.
“The junior ranks of racing are so difficult to navigate and to have the support of Andretti Autosport’s engineering resources will, I’m sure, make all the difference. I am reminded of Dan every time the boys pull on their helmets as they have the same determination and winning attitude. They often show some of Dan’s other traits too. Good luck, Michael!”
The boys also expressed their excitement and ambition to one day make it to the NTT IndyCar Series.
“I’m really excited to be a junior driver for Michael Andretti and follow in my dad’s footsteps. I hope Oliver and I can both win the Indy 500 too,” said Sebastian, 12.
“It would be so cool to race for Andretti Autosport one day. I think we will get to win a lot of races, just like my dad,” said Oliver, 10.
Dan spent three years of his IndyCar career with Andretti from 2003 to 2005, collecting 9 of his 15 career wins, 1 of his 2 career Indianapolis 500 victories in 2005, and the series championship that same year. Wheldon tragically passed away in 2011 after succumbing to injuries sustained in a crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he was propelled into the catchfence.