British racing driver Justin Wilson has died from injuries sustained in a freak accident during Sunday's IndyCar Series race at the Poccono circuit in Pennsylvania. He was 37.
Sheffield-born Wilson was struck on the head by a piece of bodywork from another car following a crash at the superspeedway track. The incident occurred during the latter stages of the 200-lap race when leader Sage Karam hit the wall hard and his car disintegrated. The nosecone became detached and struck Wilson's helmet.
Wilson's car speared off into the circuit's inside wall, which he hit head on. He was immediately attended by the series' medical crew. Karam escaped without serious injury and was released from hospital yesterday.
Wilson was airlifted from the circuit for treatment. Late on Sunday night it was confirmed that he had "suffered a severe head injury" and was "in a coma and listed in critical condition while undergoing further evaluation" at a nearby hospital.
The following day, statements were issued by his parents and IndyCar confirming that the 37-year-old father of two had died from his injuries. Wilson was described as "a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers."
Wilson had more than a decade of experience competing in America, winning seven Indy car races as well as the prestigious Daytona 24 Hours sportscar race. Prior to this he won major titles in Europe, and spent a season in Formula 1 before relocating to the States. Moreover, he was acknowledged as one of the best-liked drivers on the grid. Fellow racer Ed Carpenter called him "One of the few, if only, guys that really was a friend among everyone in the paddock, amongst the competitors, and respected for the way he carried himself."
Wilson becomes the first driver to lose their life in IndyCar since his fellow countryman Dan Wheldon died at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011.