Stefan Wilson says that it is full steam ahead to make something happen for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May. Speaking to Paddock Eye during a Zoom call, the Sheffield native said that he had a drive in place up until last month when it suddenly fell through.
Wilson also said that he is open to the idea of completing in a number of road course events in 2021 in the build up to the Indy 500 just for himself to evaluate where he is at.
Wilson has competed in one street course in IndyCar in 2013 where he made his NTT IndyCar Series debut driving for Dale Coyne Racing with his brother Justin as his team mate. Stefan said it was probably one of the toughest races he could have picked as (Dale) Coyne (team owner) Stefan explained that he went into that race probably the most unprepared that he has ever been.
He recalls that he did zero testing and that he probably completed 20 laps at Barber Motorsports Park.roughly seven months before the race and doing just two 45 minute sessions ahead of the race was a tall order and when he looks back on getting the opportunity to work alongside Justin in the same team he says he gained more respect for Justin as he was able to see first hand what he could do.
Stefan said being in the engineering room and being able to compare his and Justin’s data was really quiet cool: However, Stefan Wilson went on to say that he wishes that he had a better opportunity to race on a street or road course in IndyCar as he feels that Baltimore was not a true reflection what he feels he can do in an NTT IndyCar on a street or road course.
Speaking about working with Justin, Stefan said it just gave him more respect for him as a driver. Stefan says that growing up he always considered Justin to be one of the best.but he admits that there is biased because Justin is his older brother.
Comparing their data, Stefan said that before the race he thought their driving styles were different however working with him in IndyCar made him realize that they had the same driving style and how well they were matched.
Stefan said that both he and just ended up needing the same thing out of the car. Stefan said that he wishes that he and Justin had more time to drive together in the NTT IndyCar Series as he would have loved to have seen where they would have gone as he believes they could have carried the team forward.
Stefan hasn’t driven an IndyCar with the new aeroscreen just on the iRacing simulators however he said he has spoken to a number of drivers who have told him that the need for visor tear offs is no longer needed in that you don’t need to stack the tear offs on the visor, instead these tear offs are on the aeroscreen. Speaking about the screen, Wilson said that it is a great step for IndyCar and is probably the best for all of the series around the world.
Wilson also said that he is excited to see the new chassis with the aeroscreen integrated into the chassis decision rather then just attached to the current chassis due to the speeds that IndyCar’s are doing and the debris that comes up in the cockpit. Stefan says that had the aeroscreen been in place in 2015, he believes that it would have saved Justin’s life.
It’s a step forward and looked dodgy, but it grows and no he can’t picture an IndyCar without it and he believes that the teams adding the sponsors to the scheme it looks killer.
Stefan said it is pretty cool to see both Jimmie Johnson and Scott McLaughlin come into the series and that it will be interesting to see how they adapt coming in from NASCAR and Supercars respectively. The competition in IndyCar is pretty high across the board and Scott has a little more time to adapt and will add an interesting element.
In terms of NASCAR, Stefan said he never thought about it until the road course programme increased and he was going to race in the Xfinity series and it was really appealing to him given how close the racing is and he appreciates what they do and something that he would like to get involved in.
Speaking about road racing he said he would like to do a legit road course as his background would allow him to do well such as Laguna Seca, Portland or Road America which he knows very well but he is not sure if such a programme is realistic for next year at this point.
In terms of tracks he would like to see return to IndyCar in the future, Wilson didn’t hesitate in saying Watkins Glen as IndyCar needs to be there but he would also like to see Iowa return which has been dropped following their double header this season.
Wilson also said Phoenix or New Hampshire which would create good and entertaining races or possibly Fontana. Wilson would not like to see Pocono come back as it is no longer suited to IndyCar as the speed is just too high and you are dammed if you do and dammed if yo don’t and that NASCAR is more suited for there.
Wilson also said Kentucky would be cool if it was back on the calendar.
In terms of having Roger Penske at the helm as owner of the series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Wilson said that it’s a massive positive for the series and he doesn’t know where the sport would be right now if it wasn’t for Penske’s leadership due to the everything that has gone on this year.
Wilson said he is excited to see what Penske can do when we get back to some sort of normality and he thinks that only positive things can come of it.
As part of his day job, Wilson works as a driver coach and he says that it is something that he would like to pursue as a business opportunity in the future.