Stefan Wilson willingly gave up an Indianapolis 500 seat earlier this year for Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso. It meant Wilson was left on the sidelines. Michael Andretti, however, promised Wilson he would have a ride in 2018. On October 4th, Andretti made good on his promise, announcing Wilson will drive the team’s fifth entry in next year’s race. Wilson will pilot the No.25 Driven2SaveLives Andretti Honda for the Indy 500 in 2018.
“I’m very excited to be officially joining the Andretti Autosport team for the 102nd Indy 500,” Wilson said. “It has been a roller-coaster ride to get here, but when looking back, I’m really pleased and feel very fortunate to be in the spot I’m in now. I’ve just kept thinking about the future, knowing that I’d be joining one of the most successful teams in Indy.”
The Englishmen is coming back to a team where most of his racing success came from while driving Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, which is the top level you can reach in the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder. The 28-year-old has two Indy Lights wins under his belt as well as five podiums with Andretti in 2011. He made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut racing as teammate to his brother, the late Justin Wilson, on the Streets of Baltimore in 2013, and later drove in his first Indianapolis 500 in 2016 with KV Racing Technology where he launched the Driven2SaveLives program when they were his sponsor.
“Andretti Autosport and I won a few (Indy Lights) races together but came up short in the 2011 championship hunt,” Wilson added. “Since then, my career has been a bit of a rocky road. It’s taken a tremendous amount of determination, and that determination only grew stronger when we lost Justin. In a way, I feel like I’m racing for him as much as I am for myself. I do want to succeed in my own career and prove that I belong, but also, I want to do something he never got the chance to, I want to win the Indy 500. That’s part of what drives me.”
“We’re really happy to welcome Stefan back to Andretti Autosport and proud to see him running the No. 25,” Michael Andretti stated. “While not on track, Stefan was a big part of our Indy 500 effort in 2017, and we’re looking forward to getting him back behind the wheel at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
Indiana Donor Network and Wilson will be joining forces again to try and advance the Driven2SaveLivs campaign that promotes the awareness of organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation, and how important it is.
“Ultimately, we are working to register more donors,” said Wilson, whose brother, Justin, gave the gift of life after sustaining a non-survivable head injury in a 2015 racing accident. “Organ donation and transplantation is a cause I’m connected to through the loss of Justin, who saved five lives. We’ll be working with Driven2SaveLives to provide hope to patients on the national wait list and honor donor heroes.”
Since the campaign started, over 1000 individuals made the decision to become a organ, tissue an eye donator. 118,000 people are currently waiting nationwide for a lifesaving donation.
“Stefan is uniting race fans and elevating the conversation around donation and transplantation, and with his help, we hope to get more people across the country to register their decision to donate,” said Kellie Hanner, president and CEO at Indiana Donor Network. “We are grateful for his efforts.”