Andretti Autosport has named veteran open-wheel driver Oriol Servia to its No. 25 Honda for the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma in place of the late Justin Wilson.
The event will mark Servia’s second of the 2015 season and first on a road course after the 41-year-old driver contested the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing this past may.
“Justin was a true racer and advocate to our sport,” team owner Michael Andretti said. “We will have Justin and his family in our hearts this weekend as we honor him in the way he would want us to, by doing what he loved: racing.”
Servia’s last race on a road course came at the 2014 event held on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
“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,” Servia said.
“I have known and raced Justin for more than 10 years. 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.
“As I said earlier this week, 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.
“I am honored and emotional with the opportunity of driving his car this weekend. 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 No. 25.”
Servia, who like Wilson has earned a reputation as being one of the most approachable drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock, quickly earned the approval of many fans on social media. Wilson’s brother Stefan also shared his thoughts on the selection of the Spaniard.
“As a family, we cannot imagine a better person to race in Justin’s honor than Oriol,” Stefan 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.”
Honda Donates to Wilson Children’s Fund
To further commemorate Justin Wilson’s legacy, American Honda Motor Company, Inc. and Honda Performance Development announced a contribution to Wilson Children’s Fund based on laps completed by all Honda entries at the upcoming Sonoma race.
American Honda and HPD will contribute $50 per lap completed at Sonoma Raceway by each of the 13 Honda entries.
If all laps are completed, just over $55,000 will be donated to the fund.
“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, Honda Performance Development President.
“We’re hoping to honor his memory with this pledge, and hope that Justin’s many fans and friends can also assist the family at this tragic time.”
The Wilson Children’s Fund was established following Wilson’s death to benefit the surviving daughters of the driver and his wife, Julia. Contributions to the fund can be made by mailing donations to the following address:
Wilson Children’s Fund
c/o Forum Credit Union
PO Box 50738
Indianapolis, IN 46250-0738
Contributions already sent directly to INDYCAR will be forwarded on to the above address.
The season finale at Sonoma is set for Aug. 30.