Sebastian and Oliver Wheldon, sons of late 2-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 Dan Wheldon, have teamed up with Andretti Autosport’s driver development program.
The announcement came at the city of St. Petersburg’s memorial to Dan located inside the 1.8 mile oceanfront street circuit. Wheldon called St. Petersburg home until his untimely death in a racing accident in the 2011 IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas.
Wheldon scored nine of his 16 race wins driving for Andretti – including the Indianapolis 500 and the series championship in 2005. He inked a deal to return to the team the morning of his fatal accident.
The brothers will carry Andretti Autosport branding in three national karting series: Rok Cup USA, Super Karts USA and United States Pro Kart Series driving for JC Karting. They will receiver support from team owner Michael Andretti and the Indianapolis-based squad.
The elder Andretti was enraptured to bring the boys into their fold.
“Dan was family to us, and we had a lot of on track success together, we see a lot of Dan in both Sebastian and Oliver and are very proud to officially welcome them into our racing family,” said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti. “No one will ever be able to replace Dan in their lives, but we’re happy to offer a network for mentorship to help the boys grow their careers. Karting is the first step, but we have hopes of helping foster promising Road to Indy, and eventually even IndyCar opportunities.”
The feeling was mutual for the boys and Wheldon’s widow Susie.
“I’m really excited to be a junior driver for Michael Andretti and follow in my dad’s footsteps. I hope Oliver and I can both win the Indy 500 too,” said Sebastian, 12.
“It would be so cool to race for Andretti Autosport one day. I think we will get to win a lot of races, just like my dad,” said Oliver, 10.
“I am so grateful to Michael for taking Sebastian and Oliver under his wing,” said Susie Wheldon. “The junior ranks of racing are so difficult to navigate and to have the support of Andretti Autosport’s engineering resources will, I’m sure, make all the difference. I am reminded of Dan every time the boys pull on their helmets as they have the same determination and winning attitude. They often show some of Dan’s other traits too. Good luck, Michael – #DoubleTrouble!”