Stefan Wilson: A Climb to the Top

Stefan Wilson is the younger brother of former Formula One driver, Justin Wilson who is an IndyCar driver for Dale Coyne Racing. At the age of eighteen in 2007 he won the McLaren Autosport British Racing Drivers Club Award for promising young British racing drivers. As part of winning that award he had the privilege to drive a McLaren-Mercedes Formula One car at Silverstone International Circuit in November of 2009.

Stefan started open wheel racing in Europe in November of 2006 at the age of seventeen. His first event in Europe was in the Formula Palmer Audi Trophy Series at Brands Hatch in the United Kingdom. In the six race mini championship, he finished ninth in points and finished in the top six three times. He also set fastest lap of the race at Brands Hatch.

Wilson stayed in Formula Audi for 2007. Stefan’s gradual improvements in his rookie year payed off in 2007. In twenty starts, he won four races. His first win came at Brands Hatch where he set fast lap of the race the year before. Stefan propelled his championship run in the second half of the 2007 season with four wins, nine podiums, four poles, five fast laps of the race and two track records. That led him to finish second in the points.

2008 saw Wilson move from Formula Audi to the British Formula Three Championship. He raced for Fluid Motorsports in the National Class. He had four wins and finished fourth in National Class points.

After his brother Justin got merged into the IZOD IndyCar Series after the merger between Champ Car and IndyCar in 2008. Stefan signed a contract to run in the Firestone Indy Lights series part-time in 2009. Walker Racing which was a team from ChampCar, supplied Stefan’s equipment for the season. He entered in six races (St Petersburg x2, Long Beach, Mid Ohio, Watkins Glen and Toronto). Stef’s season started at St. Petersburg on the 1.8 mile street circuit in Florida. His season got off to a rough start with finishes of 13th, 17th and a 22nd at Long Beach, California. The other races he ran; Watkins Glen, Toronto and Mid Ohio were a day and night comparison for him. After a 12th place finish in the Corning 100 at WGI he had a fourth place finish at Toronto and a eighth place finish at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course. He finished 22nd in points.

For 2010 he stayed in IndyLights but he was driving for former CART and IndyCar driver Bryan Herta and his team Bryan Herta Autosport. In the first two races of the season he had a third place finish at St. Petersburg and then a sixth place finish at Barber Motorsports Park. At the third event of the season at Long Beach he finished 17th. Over the next six races he had an average finish of 6.6 then he was forced to miss two of the next four races due to sponsorship issues and lack of cars in the race shop. He ended up 11th in points.

In 2011 Stefan got his best opportunity yet in IndyLights. Former CART champion and Formula One driver, Michael Andretti signed him to run for Andretti Autosport for the full season. The season started shaky, with a sixteenth at St. Petersburg. Then he hit stride with nine straight top tens including a win at the famed Toronto street course around Exhibition Place. His average finish during the nine race stretch was four. In the final four races of the season he had three top tens and a win at Kentucky. His worst finish in the latter part of the season was 12th at New Hampshire. Stefan finished third in points. This was the last we would see Stefan in Lights competition for a while. He came back for the last race of the 2012 season with Fan Force United at Auto Club Speedway. He finished sixth.

Two weeks ago the news came out that Stefan could be moving up to the IndyCar Series. Not only is he possibly moving up but he could be teammates with his brother Justin at Dale Coyne Racing. The works of the deal is Stefan runs all road and street courses except for Brazil which Ana Beatriz would be running along with all ovals. Stefan is testing on Day 2 of the Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park splitting the 18 car with Beatriz. Stefan has worked hard to get to this point and he shouldn’t take this opportunity for granted.

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