Motorsport lost a popular figure as Justin Wilson, the former Jaguar F1 driver, died on Monday night in the US as a result of head injuries from an accident in an Indycar race at Pocono. Wilson was struck on the head by a piece of nosecone from another car and then crashed into the barriers.
He was airlifted to hospital Sunday night but his family issued a statement on Monday night saying that the 37 year old had died from his injuries.
Wilson will be remembered in F1 for his 2003 season with Minardi and Jaguar, switching mid-season to Jaguar and scoring a point at the US Grand Prix. Managed by ex F1 driver Jonathan Palmer on his ascent to F1, he had an innovative funding model, whereby fans could invest in him against his future earnings as a racer. He won the F3000 championship in 2001 (the forerunner to GP2).
Wilson switched to the US racing scene, like many F1 drivers before him and found a natural home in ChampCar, which was renamed Indycar, winning seven races during his career there.
It will once again intensity discussions about protecting the drivers’ heads in open cockpit racing cars following fatalities and serious injuries with debris, wheels and objects hitting the drivers’ heads.
The two main US motor sports series IndyCar and NASCAR sit alongside the FIA and the F1 experts on the recently formed GIMSS (Global Institute for Motor Sport Safety) and share knowledge and research between them on all areas of motorsport safety and operations.
The Statement from Wilson’s family said: “With deep sadness, the parents of Justin Wilson, Keith and Lynne, his wife Julia, and his brother Stefan share the news that Justin passed away today after succumbing to injuries suffered during the Verizon IndyCar event at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 23.
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.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Wilson Children’s Fund care of INDYCAR.
Wilson Children’s Fund
4551 West 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222
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