28 August 2015
IndyCar: Servia to drive #25 at Sonoma in place of Wilson
Oriol Servia will take the wheel of the Andretti Autosport #25 in this weekend's season finale in Sonoma in place of his longtime friend Justin Wilson.
The Andretti Autosport #25 car will take its place on the starting grid for this weekend's GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, with veteran driver Oriol Servia in the race seat as a tribute to his friend Justin Wilson who was killed in a tragic accident at Pocono last week.
"I am honoured and emotional with the opportunity of driving his car this weekend," said Servia. "The situation is so difficult on so many levels for obvious reasons that it's hard for the words to come out the right way.
"I want to thank my friends at Andretti Autosport for the opportunity, and I want to express how deeply touched I am by the desire of Julia, Stefan and all the Wilson family to have me driving the #25.
"I have known and raced Justin for more than 10 years," Servia continued. "I have an enormous amount of respect for him as a racer, but his qualities as a human were definitely an inspiration to anyone who ever met him.
"I truly feel he was one of these souls who has evolved a lot more than the rest of us, and it is something you could feel immediately during your first exchange with him. He will be greatly missed as we all try to emulate his spirit."
"Justin was a true racer and advocate to our sport," added team owner Michael Andretti. “We will have Justin and his family in our hearts this weekend as we honour him in the way he would want us to, by doing what he loved – racing."
Justin's brother Stefan confirmed how much it meant to the family to have Servia compete in this weekend's Verizon IndyCar Series season finale.
“As a family, we cannot imagine a better person to race in Justin's honour than Oriol,” he said. “His path and Justin's crossed in many different ways through the years. As a competitor, and also as a person, he carries Justin's spirit well, and we know that Justin would approve."
Wilson died after suffering severe head injuries following an accident for Ganassi's Sage Karam during last weekend's race at Pocono Raceway. Despite immediate medical attention and being airlifted by medical helicopter to a local hospital, the 37-year-old from Sheffield succumbed to his injuries a little over 24 hours later.
Stefan later revealed on social media that after his brother died, organ donations meant that he had helped save six other lives. "He just keeps setting the bar higher," Stefan said in a tweet. "Keep Julia & the girls in your prayers."
The Wilson Children's Fund was established this week to benefit Justin's widow Julia and their two daughters, with Honda saying that it would contribute $50 for every lap completed by a Honda-powered entry at Sonoma Raceway this weekend.
"Justin was a valuable member of our racing program, but he also was our friend, and all of us at American Honda and HPD grieve together at his loss,” said Art St Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development.
"We're hoping to honour his memory with this pledge, and hope that Justin's many fans and friends can also assist the family at this tragic time."
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