IndyCar driver Wilson dies after wreck

Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:06am EDT
 
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died on Monday after suffering a severe head injury during a wreck in the closing laps of a race the previous day at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, IndyCar officials said. He was 37.

Wilson, a former Formula One driver and seven-time winner in IndyCar racing, had been in critical condition in a coma at a hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, before his death.

"This is a monumentally sad day for IndyCar and the motorsports community as a whole," Mark Miles, chief executive officer of Hulman & Co, the parent of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in a statement.

"Justin's elite ability to drive a race car was matched by his unwavering kindness, character and humility -- which is what made him one of the most respected members of the paddock," Miles added.

Wilson's family said in a statement that he was a "loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers".

Wilson was the first IndyCar driver to die following a race accident since fellow Briton, Dan Wheldon, was killed in a fiery crash in Las Vegas in October 2011.

Wheldon, who died aged 33, was just one of two British drivers to win America's most famous race, the Indy 500, on more than one occasion. He won it in 2005 and again in 2011, the 100th anniversary of the race.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Justin Wilson," Wilson's Andretti Autosport team said in a statement.   Continued...

 
IndyCar Series driver driver Justin Wilson is introduced before the 2015 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor  Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana, in this file photo taken May 24, 2015. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports/Files