The Motor Sports Association (MSA) has paid tribute to Scotsman Dario Franchitti who yesterday secured his third victory in the Indianapolis 500, the most prestigious event in US motor racing.
Franchitti, the reigning four-time IndyCar Series champion, dedicated his sensational win to the memory of fellow Briton Dan Wheldon, who lost his life following an accident in last year’s series finale in Las Vegas, having himself won that year’s Indy 500 event.
MSA Chief Executive Colin Hilton said: “It is great news for British motor sport that Dario continues to fly the flag in the IndyCar Series and his win on Sunday was enthralling. His on-going success serves to underline Britain’s position at the heart of world motor sport, not just in terms of producing championship-winning drivers, but also in terms of the motor sport business – IndyCar is a very important market for many of the leading companies in our industry.”
Franchitti, aged 39 from Edinburgh, started his racing career in karts in his native Scotland while just 10 years old with almost immediate success. He won two British karting titles before moving into cars, winning the Formula Vauxhall Junior title in 1991 and Formula Vauxhall Lotus crown in 1993. By then he had already been voted winner of the prestigious McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year award (1992).
Following a strong debut season in the British Formula 3 Championship, his international career brought wins for Mercedes-Benz in the FIA International Touring Car (ITC) championship. In 1997 he moved to the USA, where he contested six seasons of Champ Car World Series.
Franchitti’s career took a knock in 2000 when he badly injured his back in a motorcycle accident but after a full recovery he emerged once more as a top name in US motor sport. He scored his maiden Indianapolis 500 victory in 2007 en route to his first IndyCar Series title, which he captured for a second time in 2009. The following year he added another Indy 500 win and series crown to his CV, while 2011 brought title number four.