Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
|Team principal(s)||Sam Schmidt
|Current series||IndyCar Series
|Current drivers||IndyCar Series
2004: Thiago Medeiros
2006: Jay Howard
2007: Alex Lloyd
2010: Jean-Karl Vernay
2011: Josef Newgarden
2012: Tristan Vautier
2013: Sage Karam
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, also doing business as Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports, is an auto racing team in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The team, formerly Sam Schmidt Motorsports, is owned by quadriplegic former driver Sam Schmidt. Ex-driver Davey Hamilton late joined with Schmidt in 2011 to form Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports. For 2013, Oculus Transport CEO Ric Peterson joined Hamilton and Schmidt, renaming it Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Schmidt's injury and team origins
On January 6, 2000, Sam Schmidt was in Orlando, Florida practicing at the Walt Disney World Speedway. As his car exited turn two, it hit the wall with a tremendous impact. Schmidt was airlifted to a nearby hospital in extremely critical condition. He was diagnosed as a quadriplegic, the result of a severe injury to his spinal cord at the C-3/C-4 levels and was on a respirator for 5 months. In 2001, just 14 months after his accident and at the urging of his wife and parents, Schmidt announced the formation of Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Undeterred by his injury, Schmidt travels more than 120 days a year on behalf of the team.
||This article needs to be updated. (September 2015)|
For 2011, SSM purchased the assets of FAZZT Race Team, retaining some the personnel and all sponsors, including Alex Tagliani. Townsend Bell, Jay Howard, and Wade Cunningham also drove for SSM in the 2011 IndyCar Series season.
Davey Hamilton began 2001 in the car and drove 5 races, including the team's first Indianapolis 500, ending with an injury at Texas Motor Speedway. He was replaced by Jaques Lazier who drove four races and 3 other drivers who drove a few races each. Richie Hearn made 9 starts for the team in 2002 as he switched between the team's 2 cars, the No. 99 and No. 20. Anthony Lazzaro drove in the first three races of the year in the No. 99, but handed over Indy 500 driving duties to Mark Dismore, who made his only start for the team in that year's '500'.
Also, in 2002, the Indy Pro Series was founded and Schmidt eventually refocused its efforts on that series, running only the Indy 500 as its sole IndyCar series race with a car driven from 2003 to 2005 by Hearn and in 2006 by Airton Daré. In 2007 the team fielded a car in the Indy 500 for Buddy Lazier. In 2008, while the team did not field a car of its own, it prepared and engineered Rubicon Race Team's entry for Max Papis that failed to qualify after suffering numerous gearbox problems during qualifying. The team made a joint entry with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2009 Indianapolis 500, piloted by Alex Lloyd. The arrangement with Chip Ganassi continued in 2010 for the Indy 500 with Townsend Bell driving. In 2012 SSM fielded a car for Frenchman Simon Pagenaud. Davey Hamilton joined Schmidt to field the number 77 car. Pagenaud went on to win the IZOD IndyCar Rookie of the Year Award.
Chris Griffis, the team manager for Sam Schmidt Motorsports' Indy Lights team, died on September 12, 2011. He was 46. Just over a month later, at the 2011 season finale, Dan Wheldon died after he was involved in a 15-car wreck at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wheldon was driving the No. 98 in a joint deal between SSM and Bryan Herta Autosport
For the following year, Schmidt Hamilton reunited with Pagenaud for the full season backed by Hewlett-Packard. Pagenaud would score four podiums that year, while Bell returned for the Indianapolis 500" finishing 9th. In 2013, Pagenaud would be teamed with another Frenchman, Tristan Vautier, for the season. Schmidt would also bring on another investor, former Champ Car Atlantic owner Ric Peterson. While Vautier had a best finish of 10th, Pagenaud would score two wins for Schmidt at Detroit Round 2 and Baltimore, finishing third in points. Vautier was released at the end of 2013 and replaced by Russian driver Mikhail Aleshin. Pagenaud would go on to win the inaugural GP of Indianapolis and finish 5th in points. Aleshin would carry multiple top-10 finishes with a best finish of second at Houston round 2. However, a crash at Fontana ruled him out of the finale, and visa restrictions forced Aleshin to sit out 2015. Pagenaud would leave for Team Penske, with SPM taking on James Hinchcliffe and James Jakes. While the team would have a 1-3 finish at 2015 Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana with Hinchcliffe winning, the season would come undone at Indianapolis. During qualifying. Hinchcliffe crashed hard in turns 1-2 and was airlifted to a hospital. Eventually forced out due to his injuries, Ryan Briscoe and Conor Daly shared the car for the remainder of the year.
For 2016, Hinchcliffe and Aleshin would return to SPM. While neither driver scored a victory, Hinchcliffe would lose a close battle in Texas to Graham Rahal, while Aleshin would win his first pole at Pocono Raceway and Hinchcliffe sat on pole for the 100th Indianapolis 500.
Schmidt's Indy Pro Series – later Indy Lights – program has been one of the most successful in the series' recent history, winning the 2004 championship with Thiago Medeiros, the 2006 title with Jay Howard, and the 2007 title with Alex Lloyd. After two less successful seasons, it captured its third championship in 2010 with Jean-Karl Vernay. Once again on top the team took home a 2012 Lights championship title with Tristan Vautier. For 2013 the team's Indy Lights drivers were Jack Hawksworth, Gabby Chaves, and Sage Karam. Karam won the championship in 2013, becoming the eighth rookie to become series champion.
Schmidt fielded four drivers in 2014. Jack Harvey was runner-up with four wins and ten podiums in fourteen races. Luiz Razia ended fifth with one win and five podiums. Juan Pablo García finished sixth and Juan Piedrahita was seventh, both with no podiums. In 2015, Harvey was runner-up again with two wins and eight podiums in sixteen races. RC Enerson finished fourth with one win and five podiums. Scott Anderson and Ethan Ringel ended ninth and eleventh respectively with one podium each.
For 2016, Schmidt would field cars for Santiago Urrutia and Andre Negrao. While Urrutia would win the most races of any driver, he would lose the Lights title to Ed Jones of Carlin. In late 2016, Schmidt announced that he would end his Indy Lights program, wanting to divert resources to the team's IndyCar program.
In April 2017, Schmidt Peterson announced a driver development program partnership with Indy Lights team Belardi Auto Racing. As part of the deal, Schmidt Peterson sponsor Arrow Electronics will also sponsor Belardi driver Santiago Urrutia.
IndyCar Series drivers
- Mikhail Aleshin (2014–present)2
- Alex Barron (2001)
- Townsend Bell (2010–2012)
- Wade Cunningham (2011)
- Conor Daly (2015)
- Airton Daré (2006)
- Mark Dismore (2002)
- Davey Hamilton (2001)
- Richie Hearn (2001–2005)
- James Hinchcliffe (2015–present)
- James Jakes (2015)
- Buddy Lazier (2007)
- Jaques Lazier (2001)
- Anthony Lazzaro (2001–2002)
- Katherine Legge (2013)
- Alex Lloyd (2009)
- Hideki Mutoh (2011)1
- Simon Pagenaud (2012–2014)
- Martin Plowman (2011)1
- Greg Ray (2002)
- Alex Tagliani (2011)
- Tristan Vautier (2013)
- Dan Wheldon (2011)
Complete IRL IndyCar Series results
- , Sam's story, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, May 21, 2014
- "Indy Lights manager Chris Griffis dies". ESPN.com. ESPN Inc. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
- Lewandowski, Dave (October 19, 2013). "Karam secures title; Munoz wins fourth race". IndyCar. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- Schmidt Peterson Motorsports partners with Belardi - Indy Lights, 20 April 2017