Indianapolis, IN – February 16, 2015 – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) announced today that James Jakes will pilot the team’s No. 7 Honda-powered Indy car for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
The 27-year-old, British driver participated in a two-day test with SPM last week at NOLA Motorsports Park and made a solid impression on the engineers and teammate James Hinchcliffe.
A native of Leeds, Great Britain, Jakes got his start racing in T-cars. He then moved up the ranks in Formula Renault, Formula Three, GP2 and GP3 before moving to IndyCar.
“First of all, a big thank you to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to test last week in NOLA after 16 months away,” said Jakes. “I’m extremely excited and motivated to drive the No. 7 Honda SPM Indy car in 2015.
“The team has done a fantastic job over the past few seasons and I look forward to continuing that progress. I believe that – between myself and James [Hinchcliffe] – we can really push the team to the top of this sport. I’m excited to be working alongside him as we look to help Honda in maximizing the new aero kits. It’s going to be an exciting year and I cannot wait to get started in St. Pete.”
Team co-owner Sam Schmidt stated, “We are very pleased that James will be competing with SPM in the No. 7 for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar season. The goal of the team when it moved to IndyCar in 2011 was to get to the point where we had two veteran drivers in the car, capable of pushing each other. This finally checks that box.
“Even with 16 months out of the car, James was immediately up to speed at NOLA last week and contributed to the successful test of the team. We look forward to continuing the tradition that has been established over the past three seasons of winning races and competing for the Championship.”
Team co-owner Ric Peterson added, “We’re confident that James will be a great addition to the SPM team. He knows the IndyCar landscape and he has impressed us, both in and out of the race car. Over the past several years, we have aimed at developing a group of talented drivers who fit seamlessly into the culture of our great team. We feel that James meets those criteria and we’re happy to welcome him to SPM.”
The next time Jakes is scheduled to turn laps in his No. 7 car will be the Verizon IndyCar Series open test at Barber Motorsports Park on March 16-17. Just one week later, the 2015 season kicks off on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will take place on Sunday, March 29 with the green flag scheduled to drop at 3 p.m. ET.