FILE – In this March 28, 2015, file photo, James Hinchcliffe, of Canada, is shown during practice for the IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg auto race in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hinchcliffe will be back in an Indy car for the first time since his near-fatal accident in May when he tests next week at Road America. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — James Hinchcliffe will be back in an Indy car for the first time since his near-fatal accident in May when he tests next week at Road America in Wisconsin.
Hinchcliffe crashed during a May 18 practice for the Indianapolis 500. A piece of his broken suspension pierced his leg and the IndyCar safety crew had to prevent him from bleeding to death as he was rushed to surgery.
Hinchcliffe has had several surgeries and has been in an intensive rehabilitation program. Recently cleared to drive again, the Canadian says he feels physically and mentally ready to return to the cockpit.
“This is obviously the day that has been the goal and the motivation to get through the last four months,” said Hinchcliffe. “And the fact that it is at Road America, one of my favorite road courses in the country, makes it that much better.”
The IndyCar Series will make its debut at Road America next year. The permanent road course held its first race in 1955 and the CART Series raced there from 1982 through 2007.
Several IndyCar drivers tested there this week to rave reviews. Hinchcliffe will be part of a second test on Monday.
“I expect to be grinning like an idiot for the first few runs,” said Hinchcliffe. “I’m under no illusions that it won’t be a massively difficult day. Going to a track we haven’t run, on top of the physical stress of getting back in, but that’s OK. I’m definitely ready for a little hard work.”
Hinchcliffe won the Pro Mazda race at Road America in 2005, and competed at the track in the Atlantic Championship from 2006 to 2008. He also co-drove a Daytona Prototype during the United SportsCar Championship race weekend.
Hinchcliffe was injured in the first season of a multi-year deal with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. He won the New Orleans race in April for Schmidt. The team used Conor Daly and Ryan Briscoe to complete the season after Hinchcliffe was injured.
“This has been a long time coming, but we are extremely pleased that James has made a full recovery and will be testing at Road America,” team co-owner Sam Schmidt said. “All of us appreciate the incredible amount of support James and SPM have received from the motorsports community throughout this process. We are now more confident than ever that this team can be ready and compete for the championship in 2016.”
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