Cristiano da Matta continues to fight for his life after he sustained a serious head injury at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The Brazilian Champ Car World Series racer is in the Theda Clark Medical Center in intensive car under the ...
Cristiano da Matta continues to fight for his life after he sustained a serious head injury at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The Brazilian Champ Car World Series racer is in the Theda Clark Medical Center in intensive car under the observation of his medical team, including the neurosurgeon who had to perform a subdural hematoma removal yesterday.
The 2002 Champ Car champion had an on track collision with a deer yesterday afternoon in the final Thursday practice Open Test session for the series. At the wheel of his RuSPORT Lola powered by Ford, da Matta would have been hitting top speeds near 180 mph on the section between turns five and six when the deer entered the racing surface.
The contact between the open wheel car and the deer was originally on the right front of the car, propelling the large animal into the cockpit area and onto da Matta's head according to those who witness the horrific accident.
Da Matta was knocked unconscious while his car continued at a high rate of speed into a tire wall. The Champ Car Safety Team removed the stricken driver onto a backboard where he was airlifted immediately to the medical center in Neenah, WI.
Once the medical staff ran the CT scan, they performed the necessary immediate surgery. Today, the Champ Car director of Medical Affairs, Dr. Chris Pinderski issued the following statement.
"Cristiano da Matta continues to recover from a serious head injury sustained yesterday during Champ Car Open Testing at Road America. He remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Theda Clark Memorial Hospital in Neenah, Wisconsin and is under close observation by the attending neurosurgeons."
RuSPORT removed Justin Wilson from further participation in the Open Test which concludes today on the 4.0148-mile road course. They further have announced that Wilson will still compete in the next round of Champ Car competition in Denver next weekend but have withdrawn the No. 10 car which would have been driven by da Matta.
No further comments on other possible injuries have been given at this time. RuSPORT and Champ Car will continue to send updates as they become available.
Many know da Matta by his nickname "Shorty". In 2002, seven was his lucky number with equal amounts in poles and race victories driving for the Newman/Haas Racing team. Da Matta's title handed the team their fourth title.
The open wheel ace moved from Champ Car (formerly CART) to Formula One in 2003 racing for the newly formed Toyota F1 team. He scored 10 points, his best finish being sixth, and ended the season 13th overall in the drivers' standings, ahead of teammate Olivier Panis. 2004 was a difficult year for both Toyota and da Matta; he only managed three points before being replaced by fellow Brazilian Ricardo Zonta in early August.
The Toyota F1 team is currently at the Hungaroring in Budapest, preparing for the Hungarian Grand Prix and Friday was overshadowed by the news of da Matta's accident. "When he was with Toyota Cristiano was always a fighter and everyone involved in the team wishes him the best as he fights for his recovery," it said in a statement.
In 2005, he returned to Champ Car with the PKV Racing team before moving to Dale Coyne Racing at the start of the 2006 season. When A.J. Allmendinger was let go by RuSPORT, da Matta moved into the vacant seat starting with the race in Portland, Oregon. His best finish in his new ride came last Sunday on the streets of San Jose where he earned second place ahead of his teammate Wilson.
RuSPORT has made the following request for the many friends and fans of da Matta who would like to express their support:
"In lieu of sending flowers and gifts, anyone wishing to express their support for da Matta during his recovery is asked to please make a donation in his name to Hole in the Wall Camps (an official charity of the Champ Car World Series) Donation information can be found by visiting www.holeinthewallcamps.org or by calling 203-562-1203."
Da Matta update