Former Formula 1 racer Justin Wilson passed away at the age of 37 on August 24. The Englishman suffered fatal head injuries while he was racing at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.
The IndyCar driver was competing for Andretti Autosport for the sixth time. Their original contract had been only a two-race deal, for both of Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s events, but was very recently extended to include 2015’s concluding five races.
On August 23, Wilson was hit on his helmet by debris that arose on the track in front of him, from Sage Karam’s single-car crash. He was likely unconscious when his car slammed into an angled wall, covered with a SAFER barrier, at an alarming speed. Wilson was taken to Allentown, Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest.
Stefan Wilson, 32, the deceased’s younger brother, is also a driver for IndyCar. He tweeted about his loss: “He was my brother, my best friend, my role model and my mentor. He was a champion!”
Champion, he was. Wilson was known as the gentle giant. He was soft-spoken and very analytical, making him one of the most popular racers.
Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman and Company (IndyCar’s parent company) released a touching statement praising Wilson not only for his racing abilities, but also his kind and humble character.
NASCAR drivers Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt also sent out their condolences via social media to the late driver’s family.
Wilson began driving at an early age and garnered international fame upon winning Formula Palmer Audi’s inaugural championship with nine wins. With seven major wins under his belt, he remains the tallest person to have ever competed in Formula 1.
Pockrass, B., et al., “IndyCar driver Justin Wilson dies,” ESPN web site, August 25, 2015; http://goo.gl/7smexN.