Press Releases » James Hinchcliffe fitter than ever on eve of 2016 IndyCar season
Toronto, ON, March 7, 2016 – The long road back: it’s all in the recovery. That’s the main element of a story that Canadian race driver James Hinchcliffe has learned to tell with familiarity. It’s also one that has him feeling better than ever on the eve of a critical opening race to the Verizon IndyCar Season, March 13, at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Much to the delight of fans north and south of the border, James returns behind the wheel of his No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda vehicle after a season-ending crash last May.
The story has everything you could ask for: drama, blood, heroic deeds, heartbreak, perseverance and it goes something like this:
Scene 1: The Brickyard, Indianapolis, May 18, 2015:
Hinchcliffe is powering into the third turn in practice for the fabled Indy 500 when his car suffers a catastrophic mechanical failure at 230 miles per hour. It hits the wall, flips, and comes to rest near Turn 4 in a fiery crash. James is skewered to the seat of the carbon fibre monocoque by a large shard of the suspension, which penetrates his thighs.
He is bleeding copiously and is in real danger of exsanguination when emergency staff extricates him, stops the bleeding and transports him to the IU Health Methodist Hospital four miles to the east. Hinchcliffe undergoes emergency surgery within the hour.
“The track emergency crew and the doctors at IU Methodist are the real heroes of this story,” he says. “They literally saved my life.” (watch a video on James’ accident and first response: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKKr9GFjZzM )
Scene 2: Road America track, Elkhart Lake, WI, September 28, 2015
Did he do any special rehab over the intervening four months to complete his recovery from the horrific accident?
“We didn’t really do anything new. We simply worked very hard, and everything was done in stages. We started with upper body work and eventually brought the legs into the picture. The first work on my legs involved stretching and isolating muscles.
“The biggest advance was getting my mobility back.”
Many pro athletes who suffer such a horrific accident might consult with a sports psychologist during the recovery process. But not Hinchcliffe.
“If during my four months of arduous rehab I entertained even the slightest doubts about my ability to come back, they were dispelled the very first time I sat in the cockpit of my car, and then I took it out on the track for testing and normal life resumed.”
Did the car feel strange, or weirdly unfamiliar?
“Yes and no. I felt in all of my bones that I hadn’t been in the car for months and yet I also felt that I had been doing this for most of my life amd everything came automatically.”
Scene 3: The road to St. Petersburg
“St. Petersburg is coming up, and it’s one of the four races I’ve won in the past,” says Hinchcliffe. “I’m comfortable on that course.”
Does that mean he expects to win more than his fair share of races in 2016? (He has four wins in IndyCar to date.)
“A great many variables come into play when you race cars for a living. You’re deluding yourself if you expect to win every race. What you can do that is positive to give youself a chance to win is to limit your mistakes. The racer who makes the fewest mistakes usually wins.
The 29-year-old Canadian’s recovery period should continue right up to the Indy 500; the sixth of 16 races on the 2016 schedule.
“After Indy, I‘ll move on. It won’t be a topic of conversation any more.”
The Mayor of Hinchtown inspires confidence, and the renewal of the Arrow Electronics sponsorship and the arrival of Petro-Canada are proof of that. “As a brand, we’re delivering for our sponsors. We keep doing a good job in providing value and they know that.”
Scene 4: St.Petersburg, FL March 11-13, 2016
The future begins.
“We’re ready,”says Hinchcliffe. “Our Schmidt Peterson Motorsport team has been working at top speed in the off-season. We’ve put in the work, and I’m postive we’ll have the results to prove it.”
The Mayor of Hinchtown is proud of his new teammates, and is eager to introduce them to his hometown at this summer’s Honda Indy Toronto, July 15-17. While he was a member of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2015, his Indy 500 accident sidelined him and prevented him from participating in his home race.
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast on ABC TV at 12:30, Sunday, March 13.
For more information, please contact:
Raluca Melniciuc – Torchia Communications – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel.: 416 341-9929 Ext. 231
Mary Moniz – Torchia Communications – email@example.com
Tel.: 416 341-9929 Ext. 221