Monday, October 17, 2011

Why was British driver offered $5m to race from the back of the grid around lethally fast 225mph Indy circuit before fatal smash?


Tragedy: Dan Wheldon's number 77 car, far left, launches into the air after clipping a vehicle that was in front of it. Moments later Mr Wheldon smashes into the fencing to his right

The British IndyCar champion killed in a 225mph smash had been offered a $5million incentive to race from the back, it was revealed today.

As tributes poured in to Dan Wheldon, it also emerged that the 33-year-old had voiced concerns about the speed of cars and the cramped conditions on the track.

The father-of-two suffered horrendous injuries after his car hit another vehicle at breakneck speeds in the Las Vegas Indy 300. He was catapulted helplessly into the air before landing on a barrier and suffering fatal injuries.

Mr Wheldon's blue and white car takes off in the air. It appears to have hit the back of the green vehicle in front, which acted like a ramp and launched the British driver upwards

Mr Wheldon's Dallara-Honda had weaved its way through the field of cars after starting at the back in a desperate bid to claim the lucrative prize.

Just days earlier Mr Wheldon had joined a number of other drivers in expressing the fears over the speed of cars and the cramped conditions on the oval shaped track. But in a blog post, he had promised fans he would go out to win and put on a show of 'pure entertainment'.

Out of control: A close up of the moment of impact shows the rear left wheel of the green car pushed up by Mr Wheldon's vehicle, which reaches a steep angle

The 1.5 mile-long Motor Speedway track in Las Vegas is 60 per cent shorter than the one used for Indy-33 races. It may have caused a deadly combination of 34 cars crowded on the track, lighting fast speeds and fierce competition.

Milliseconds after the initial impact, Mr Wheldon's car has spun upside down as it hurtles towards the fencing. Will Power's car, right, is just beginning to take off

Will Power's car is flung into the air as a large number of vehicles collide in the pile-up and sparks fly. Mr Wheldon's vehicle has gone ahead of them and can no longer be seen in this shot

The fiery pile-up, on the 11th lap of the 300-mile race, was caused by contact on Turn 2 and sucked in almost half of the race’s 34 participants.

Mr Wheldon, a former private school pupil originally from Buckinghamshire, was rushed to hospital in a helicopter but died as a result of his severe 'unsurvivable' injuries.

Will Power's number 12 car is seen flying through the air. The vehicle was not crushed against the fencing in the same manner as Mr Wheldon's and he survived the accident

As the racing world today came to terms with the death, leading figures from the sport paid tribute to the 'talented and inspirational driver'.

Lewis Hamilton, who was the 2008 Formula One World Champion, said: 'This is an extremely sad day. Dan was a racer I'd followed throughout my career, as I often followed in his footsteps as we climbed the motorsport ladder in the UK.

Will Power's car lands close to the barrier facing backwards without suffering the severe damage inflicted on Mr Wheldon's vehicle, which is further down the track

'He was an extremely talented driver. As a British guy, who not only went over to the States but who twice won the Indy 500, he was an inspirational guy, and someone that every racing driver looked up to with respect and admiration.

'This is a tragic loss at such a young age. My heart goes out to his family and friends during this extremely difficult time.'

Jenson Button wrote on Twitter: 'Just woken up to the most horrific news. Dan Weldon RIP. I have so many good memories of racing with Dan in the early 90s, a true fighter. We've lost a legend in our sport but also a great guy.'

Smashed to pieces: Wheldon's car, only identifiable by the B & W logo, is shown in the far left of the picture. The car is upside down and the driver's head has clearly been in contact with the barrier

The severe extent of the damage to the number 77 car, left, can be seen. Wires and shards of metal are hanging loose from it as flames engulf the tale

Fire: Mr Wheldon's car is momentarily lost is a ball of flames as it hits the barrier. Wheels and parts of the body of the vehicle are flung onto the track

Flames: Mr Wheldons car skids across the asphalt on its nose having lost both front wheels and the rear spoiler in the crash. Will Power's vehicle is seen behind him against the fence

'Unsurvivable injuries: Mr Wheldon's head is flung to the left as his 77 car, now without any wheels, spins away from the fence towards the centre of the track

Medics rush Mr Wheldon's damaged car as it becomes clear that he is severely injured. Some workers are seen waving, frantically trying to get more assistance

The race to save his life: Dan Wheldon is loaded into a medical helicopter and airlifted to hospital

Proud family man: Wheldon poses with wife Susie, who is holding baby son Oliver, and older son Sebastian on the day after he won Indianapolis 500 in May of this year. With them is the Borg-Warner trophy

The former champion's injuries were so bad that there was little that the medics could do to save him. He was pronounced dead a short while later and officials were informed two hours after the initial crash.

Mr Wheldon's wife Susie, and two sons, Sebastian, two, and six-month-old Oliver, are understood to have been at his bedside when he died, as well as his two brothers and a sister.

Devastated: Team mates Jenson Button, left, and Lewis Hamilton, right, have both paid tribute to Wheldon who they have called 'inspirational'

Sheer disbelief: Brazilian driver Vitor Meira at a drivers meeting after the deadly crash and, right, crew members look at the remains of one of the crashed cars

Tangled mess: Members of driver Paul Tracy's team inspect the remains of his car

Shocking aftermath: Cars are scattered on the track after a 15 car crash during the Las Vegas Indy 300

Stunned and tearful: Drivers take five tribute laps in Las Vegas on Sunday in honour of Dan Wheldon

Dazed: IndyCar racer Danica Patrick walks away from pit road after the tribute laps

Choking back tears: Stunned fans weep as drivers pay their five-lap tribute

Touching tribute: Teams line up on pit row as drivers take five laps in honour of Wheldon

Popular: With his love of racing and golden boy looks, Wheldon was loved among followers of the sport

Indycar Crash at Las Vegas Speedway 2011 ~ R.I.P. Dan Wheldo

source: dailymail