Newsstand » “Recovering IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe hopes to race in 2016”
JULY 11, 2015
Recovering IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe hopes to race in 2016
James Hinchcliffe says he has one more surgery ahead of him before he can think about a timetable to getting back in an Indy car.
PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC
SCHMIDT PETERSON MOTORSPORT DRIVER SUFFERED LIFE-THREATENING INJURES AT INDY
Five Questions with James Hinchcliffe, the IndyCar Series driver recovering from life-threatening injuries during Indianapolis 500 practice May 18 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
Question: What has the recovery process been like?
Answer: A lot of PlayStation, the big decision every morning between how much time do I spend in bed versus how much time do I spend on the couch. No, in all honesty, it’s been pretty smooth. I’ve been lucky. I’ve got a tremendous team of doctors and PTs (physical therapists) looking after me. They’ve really kind of helped the recovery process go along as smoothly as possible. We’re kind of ahead of schedule on pretty much everything. Energy level gets better every day. Strength gets better every day. Mobility gets better every day. So it’s been a lot of long days, not doing much, which, unfortunately, is what I’ve been told to do, and the few times I’ve disobeyed that order I’ve paid for it dearly. So I’ve learned the doctors kind of know what they’re talking about and you should probably listen to them. And that’s what I’ve been doing. So it’s been, like I said, it feels slow for my speed, but the doctors are telling me everything’s going very quickly, so no complaints.
Question: What has your relationship with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports been like since your accident?
Answer: Painful but necessary. I mean, for me I’m still as much a part of this team as I was driving behind the wheel. We’re obviously still learning a new aero kit and we’re going to all these tracks for the first time with the new aero kit so there are still lessons to be learned. As much as I can stay involved reading the engineering reports and getting everything after the fact, being there on hand at the time and hearing the words out of the drivers’ mouth and seeing the feelings and emotions and being part of the decision-making process is still something that will serve me, I think, very well in preparations for next year when we still have to use this same car. So it’s all learning and building toward 2016 for me as well as trying to help the team and add my experience in whenever I can for the races this year.
Question: Are you confident you’ll return to racing next season?
Answer: I hope so. Now that you’ve actually posed it, no one has actually asked me that question. But I think as far as the doctors are concerned, being ready for off‑season testing shouldn’t be a problem. I obviously still have one surgery to go, so some of the rehab and physical therapy is going to be more heavily weighted after that surgery. The big goal for the doctors was to make sure that I recovered as well as possible from not only the surgery that I had, but from the trauma that my body experienced to prepare for the next surgery to make sure I’m as healthy as I am the next time I go under the knife, so that way I can bounce back quickly from that one. So the physical side of it will take place more so after that is done.
Question: Doctors have told you not to jog or swim. What other restrictions do you have? Is it possible to do too much?
Answer: I started thinking that going out and socializing with friends was a good idea. I attended a friend’s house for Fourth of July. Probably shouldn’t have done that, but it’s all part of it. You can only spend so many days in the house on the couch. The world still goes on without you, and there are just times when you want to be part of the things that are happening, but ultimately my goal is to get back in the car as soon as possible. So anything that I have to do and anything that I’ve got to suffer through for that, we can do it.
Question: Describe your days.
Answer: There are definitely days where you get frustrated with how limited you feel in what you can do. I lead a very busy lifestyle normally. I’m a very active person, not only physically, but I’m very involved in my job and other elements I have going on outside of the sport. And really having to put everything on hold has been very tough, just for a busy‑minded person, I guess. Days spent resting can still be exhausting. There is still some pain that creeps in from time to time and dealing with that can certainly make a day worse than the previous or the next. So it’s all a process. But I’ve been very fortunate, like I said, that I’ve had a lot of good people around me. My girlfriend has been a godsend in all of this first. I think she’s going more stir crazy than I am because she’s perfectly able‑bodied and still stuck at home most of the time. But I’ve had a lot of help to get through those days.
By Autoweek Staff