2 OCTOBER 19 2011 motorsport-news.co.uk
IN THIS ISSUE
THE VOICE OF BRITISH MOTORSPORT ISSUE JA2792
“I’m not ecstatic about the result”
P10 Lewis Hamilton’s lack of downforce is being assessed
NEAL WINS THIRD BTCC
CROWN IN THRILLER
Honda star rates triumph as his toughest challenge
LATVALA: I’LL BE WATCHING OUT FOR SORDO
Ford ace says Spaniard can win in Mini on home turf
MALVERN TRIUMPHS IN
Briton takes win to deny flying teenage Dutchman
Korean Grand Prix report
Historic race and rally news
Formula Ford Festival report
BTCC supports report
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Briton loses his life after huge accident
By James Attwood British IndyCar Series star Dan Wheldon was killed following an accident in last Sunday’s season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The 33-year-old, the 2005 series champion and a double Indianapolis 500 winner, was one of 15 drivers involved in a huge accident on the 11th lap of the race. The race was stopped andmedical staff worked for more than half an hour to extract Wheldon from the wreckage of his car. The driver was airlifted to University Medical Center in downtown Las Vegas, where hewas pronounced dead. IndyCar Series CEORandyBernard said his injuries were “unsurvivable.” Wheldon hadn’t been able to secure a full-time IndyCar Series drive this year, and his outing at Las Vegas was just his third of the season. Hewas contesting the race in aDallara-Honda run by Sam Schmidt Motorsports as part of a special bonus programme designed to gain publicity for the series. Wheldon agreed to start at the back of the record 34-car field, and was bidding to collect $5million [£3.1million], split between him and a fan, if hewon the race. He had already made up ten places by the time of the accident.
Scottish racer Dario Franchitti, who secured his record fourth IndyCar Series title last weekend, led tributes to his former team-mate: “I’m numband speechless. One minute you’re joking around in the driver introductions and the next he’s gone. Hewas six years old when I first met him. We’d known him since hewas a little kid and then he’s my team-mate in IndyCar. Wehad a couple of fallouts along the way but he was a friend. I lost a good friend. Everyone saw Dan as a good friend.” Wheldon is survived by his wife, Susie, two young sons, his parents, Clive and Susie, and three siblings.
The accident The crash occurred on the 11th lap of the 200-lap season finale.
It was sparked when two cars touched in the middle of a tight pack in the high-speed oval’s second turn, with numerous other machines then crashing into them. Wheldon was running near the back of the pack, and his car struck the back of another. That lifted it into the air, with the car then striking the safety fence on the edge of the circuit.
“I could see within five laps people were starting to do crazy stuff,” said Franchitti, who narrowly avoided being involved in the crash. “I love hard racing but that to me is not really what it’s about.”
Wheldon was killed after a crash on lap 11 at Las Vegas
Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe was ahead of the crash, but had to drive past the debris on his next lap. He said: “I’ve never seen anything
Multi-car accident beg an ahead of Wheldon (not in shot) on track like it. The debris we all had to drive through, it looked like awar scene from The Terminator. It was scary.”
The Las Vegas event, called the Izod IndyCar Series World Championship, had been added onto this year’s calendar at the suggestion of series boss Randy Bernard, whowanted a high profile season finale.
The 1.5-mile oval has progressive banking that reaches 20 degrees in the turns, and its smooth surface and wide track meant that IndyCars could run flat-out for the full length of the circuit. Tony Kanaan claimed pole for the race at an average speed of 222.078mph. With a bumper 34-car entry for the event, drivers had predicted there could be a big incident in the race. Before the race, series veteran Paul