Daniel Clive " Dan " Wheldon ( born June 22, 1978 in Emberton, UK, † October 16, 2011 in Las Vegas ) was a British racing driver. He rode from 2002 to 2011 in the IndyCar Series and won the 2005 championship title in this series. 2005 and 2011 he won the Indianapolis 500 for themselves. He died after a mass accident on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
- 3.1 Career stations
- 3.2 Individual results in the IndyCar Series
Beginnings in motorsport
Wheldon began his motorsport career in 1987 in karting, where he was active until 1995. In 1996 he moved to Formula racing and immediately became vice-champion of the British Formula Vauxhall Junior. He also appeared in the regular championship and finished second in the drivers' standings to sixth place. In 1997 he joined the British Formula Ford and into the European Formula Ford In both series, he finished fourth. In the next season he remained in both series and improved in each case to third overall. One of his rivals this season was Jenson Button. After that season, he moved to North America for financial reasons, because he did not have enough money to continue his career in the UK.
Wheldon started in 1999 in the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 and won with six wins straight away the championship. In 2000 he competed in the Atlantic Championship. He chose two races for themselves and ended the season runner-up behind Buddy Rice. In 2001 he moved to the Indy Lights and also won two races this season. At the end he missed the championship again and was behind Townsend Bell runner-up.
After Wheldon 2002 was initially started in any race series, he took for Panther Racing as teammate Sam Hornish Jr. at the last two races of the season of the Indy Racing League. In the following season he remained in the now renamed the IndyCar Series championship and joined Andretti Green Racing. First, he represented the injured Dario Franchitti and then got the cockpit of the retired Michael Andretti. Wheldon was always more familiar with the car and posted at the season finale in Fort Worth as a third party his first podium placement. At the end of the season, he finished eleventh overall and decided the ranking of the best newcomer for themselves.
In 2004, he won his first IndyCar race at Motegi. In the course of the season followed by two more victories. At the end of the year he was with a significant gap to his teammate Tony Kanaan runner-up of the IndyCar Series. 2005 Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500 and was the first Englishman since Graham Hill in 1966 who decided this prestigious race for themselves. Overall Wheldon won six races this season, setting a new record for victories in a season on. The championship title he won as a result, with a clear lead over his teammate Canaan.
After winning the championship Wheldon joined Chip Ganassi Racing in 2006 and was teammate Scott Dixon. In early 2006 came the two together with Casey Mears in the 24- hour race at Daytona and won the race for themselves. In the IndyCar Series he succeeded in the season opener at Homestead, where Paul Dana was killed in an accident in training, his first victory in the new team. He had a very tight with 0.0147 seconds ahead of second-placed Hélio Castroneves. In the championship, Wheldon was fighting along with Castroneves and Hornish for the title. At the end of the season he had scored with Hornish with 475 points, the most points. Since he had won two of four races and his opponent, he was again runner-up. Before the start of the season Wheldon was offered a F1 Team Formula 1 test driver cockpit of the BMW Sauber, but he refused, because you can guarantee him a regular place for the coming season.
2007 remained Wheldon at Ganassi. Although he won two races, but had, in contrast to his teammate Dixon no chance of winning the title. He finished the season in fourth place overall. In 2008, he again scored two victories and finished fourth in the overall standings. While Dixon scored the championship, Wheldon was notified before the end of the season that the team is planning for the future without him and he will be replaced by Franchitti. Even when no longer season scoring race in Surfers Paradise, he returned to Panther Racing.
2009 no longer tied Wheldon on the successes of the previous seasons. After he still came regularly in the first half of the season in the top ten pilots, he succeeded more and more rare in the second half of the season. The highlight of the season, which he finished in tenth place overall, was a second place at the Indianapolis 500. 2010 remained Wheldon at Panther Racing. When the 500 Miles of Indianapolis, he reached again in second target. At the end of the season, he finished with two other podium finishes ninth overall.
2011 took Wheldon first no IndyCar cockpit. At the Indianapolis 500 started and he won for the team of Bryan Herta, Bryan Herta Autosport, which a year before ever played there after a start in the same place his second race in the IndyCar Series. Wheldon was sitting there in probably the oldest Dallara chassis (built in 2003) of the whole field. In addition, Wheldon was involved as a test driver in the development work of the new IndyCar chassis. For the last two races, he received a cockpit with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, where he replaced Alex Tagliani. Wheldon also had the opportunity to win as final -started at the season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a win 5 million dollars, half of each for himself and for the drawn fan
In the season finale said Dan Wheldon was involved in round 11 in an accident with a total of 15 race cars. Wheldons seater was catapulted through the rear of another vehicle in the air and hit the top of the driver's compartment in the fencing -in. The race was stopped immediately thereafter. Wheldon was immediately flown to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Two hours later it was announced Wheldons death. The cause of death serious head injuries were reported. Instead of a reboot, there were only five rounds in his honor, followed by his team-mates had agreed in consultation with the Race Director.
After his death, announced his former team Andretti Autosport that Wheldon had signed a contract for the 2012 season as the successor of Danica Patrick in the morning before the Las Vegas race.
Wheldon was in 2008 married to his longtime assistant Susie Brehm and father of two sons.
- 2006: IndyCar Series (2nd place)
- 2007: IndyCar Series (4th place )
- 2008: IndyCar Series (4th place )
- 2009: IndyCar Series (No. 10)
- 2010: IndyCar Series (No. 9)
- 2011: IndyCar Series ( No. 28 )
Individual results in the IndyCar Series