Oriol Servia to drive Justin Wilson's No. 25 Honda in finale
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) Justin Wilson's race car will be back on track for the IndyCar season finale.
Andretti Autosport announced Thursday that series veteran Oriol Servia will drive Wilson's No. 25 Honda at Sonoma Raceway this weekend.
Wilson died Monday, a day after a piece of debris from another car struck him in the head at Pocono Raceway.
''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 and Wilson were close friends, which makes Servia's task ''so difficult on so many levels for obvious reasons,'' he said.
''It's hard for the words to come out the right way,'' Servia added. ''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.
''I am honored and emotional with the opportunity of driving his car this weekend.''
Wilson's family agreed to let Andretti put the No. 25 back on track.
''As a family, we cannot imagine a better person to race in Justin's honor than Oriol,'' said Wilson's younger brother, Stefan Wilson. ''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.''
IndyCar's Marco Andretti drove the No. 25 across the Golden Gate Bridge on Thursday, leading a motorcade to honor Wilson.
Michael Andretti later announced Servia would be behind wheel for the season finale.
Also Thursday, Honda announced a contribution to the Wilson Children's Fund, which was established this week to benefit the two daughters of Wilson and wife Julia.
American Honda Motor Company, Inc., and Honda Performance Development will contribute $50 for every lap completed at Sonoma by each of the 13 Honda entries. The donation could total more than $55,000 to the Wilson Children's 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, president of Honda Performance Development. ''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.''