IndyCar racer Justin Wilson has sadly passed away following his accident in Sunday’s 500-mile race at Pocono. He was 37.
Wilson succumbed to head injuries sustained on lap 180 when he struck the nose section from the debris of Sage Karam’s car, which had crashed out of the lead of the race ahead of him.
Wilson was unconscious when the Holmatro safety team arrived at the scene and was immediately airlifted to a local hospital, Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pa.
He was listed in critical condition and in a coma, from which he never woke.
IndyCar/Wilson family statement
Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
"On behalf of the Wilson family, it's with profound sadness that we announce Justin Wilson died this evening at Lehigh Valley Health Network Hospital as a result of the head injury he sustained at the Pocono event.
"He passed away in the company of his family. Brother Stefan, his loving, wonderful wife Julia and his parents Keith and Lynne. Justin's ability to drive a race car was matched by his unwavering kindness, character and humility which made him one of the most respected members of the paddock.
"As we know, the racing industry is one big family. Our focus now is on rallying around Justin's family during this difficult time. Anyone who follows our sport knows that Justin is one of the most well-respected and highly-regarded people in the entire paddock. He will be missed."
Miles went on to express sincere thanks on behalf of Justin's family and the Andretti Autosport team to the Holmatro safety team and other skilled medical professionals who attempted to save his life.
His family released their own statement, saying: "Justin was a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers.
"The family would like to thank the staff at the Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital, Pocono Raceway, Andretti Autosport, and the Verizon IndyCar Series as well as the entire racing community for the amazing outpouring of support from fans around the world."
A hugely successful racing career
Wilson won three races during his IndyCar career, the first coming at Detroit in 2008 for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. He also earned four victories in CART.
He also won two races for the tiny Dale Coyne Racing operation – at Watkins Glen in 2009 and the Texas event in 2012, which was his first triumph on ovals.
He also finished in the top five in the 2013 Indy 500.
Wilson started racing in 1995, in Formula Vauxhall Junior, and was also a multiple race winner in Formula Vauxhall with Paul Stewart Racing. He won the 1998 Formula Palmer Audi championship, and progressed to FIA Formula 3000, winning the title in 2001 with Nordic Racing.
Wilson made his Formula 1 debut in 2003 with Minardi. Although good results were difficult to achieve with the tiny squad, his performances were good enough to earn him a call-up to the Jaguar team to replace Antonio Pizzonia for the final five races of the season.
Wilson scored his first, and only, F1 World Championship point at that year’s United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis when he finished eighth.
After losing his drive to the well-funded Christian Klien for 2004, Wilson switched his attention to the United States, contesting the Champ Car World Series.
He made his debut with Conquest Racing before moving on to a highly successful partnership with the RuSPORT team.
He would score four race wins in Champ Cars at RuSPORT: two in 2005 (Toronto and Mexico City) plus one at Edmonton in 2006 and another at Assen in ’07. He subsequently moved to IndyCars.
The Sheffield-born driver won the 2012 Daytona 24 Hour sportscar classic with Michael Shank Racing, partnering AJ Allmendinger, Oswaldo Negri and John Pew. In a varied career he also raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours, Formula E, V8 Supercars, World Series by Nissan, FIA GT and the American Le Mans Series.
Wilson had been on the sidelines at the start of this season, but Andretti Autosport put together a part-time campaign and was highly-regarded by engine supplier Honda. He finished second in the recent Mid-Ohio event.
Motorsport.com sends its condolences to Justin’s family and many friends. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: Wilson Children's Fund, c/o INDYCAR, 4551 W. 16th St., Indianapolis, IN 46222.