James Hinchcliffe crashed violently about 50 minutes into Monday’s practice session for the 99th Indianapolis 500.
Hinchcliffe was completing a practice run when he suffered what appeared to be a mechanical failure. His No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda drove straight into the turn 3 wall, striking hard on the right-front side. The car then skidded across the short chute between turns 3 and 4, rolling over briefly before landing back in its wheels and slowing to a stop in turn 4.
Hinchcliffe was helped out of the destroyed car by safety workers and taken to the infield care center before being transported to nearby IU Health Methodist Hospital. Hinchcliffe was awake, but his condition is otherwise unknown.
Hinchcliffe, 28, suffered a concussion after a piece of debris hit his helmet in last year’s GP of Indianapolis. The Toronto native qualified 24th for the May 24 race.
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) May 18, 2015
Verizon IndyCar Series officials have put Monday’s practice session on hold while they investigate the cause of Hinchcliffe’s crash.
Hinchcliffe is the fifth driver to incur a bad crash in practice. Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Ed Carpenter all flipped while practicing for qualifying at the 2.5-mile track. Carpenter’s crash prompted IndyCar to mandate changes on the cars before qualifying – reducing turbo power boost and pushing teams to set up aero kits with less downforce. Pippa Mann also suffered a violent crash, hitting the armco barrier at the entrance to pit road. Mann, however, attributed her crash to driver error.