Four-time IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti has announced his retirement from all forms of racing.
The Scot – a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 – suffered spinal fractures in a last-lap crash at the penultimate championship round at Houston, and he has been forced to quit as a result of these injuries.
“Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority. I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks. I’d also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support,” Franchitti said in a media release published moments ago on his official website.
“One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing.
“They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.
“Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it’s really tough to think that the driving side is now over. I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series championship.
“I’d like to thank all my fellow competitors, teammates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride. I’d also like to thank Hogan Racing, Team KOOL Green and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunities to compete on the racetrack, and especially Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who have become like a family to me since I joined their team back in 2008. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all my fans around the world. I can’t thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years.
“Hopefully in time, I’ll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series. I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed. I’ll be working with Chip to see how I can stay involved with the team, and with all the amazing friends I’ve made over the years at Target.
“As my buddy Greg Moore would say, ‘See you up front!’.”
“Dario Franchitti has done so much for Target Chip Ganassi Racing so it will be very disappointing to not see him in our cars next season,” Chip Ganassi Racing team owner, Chip Ganassi added.
“But simply put, Dario is a motorsports legend and will be sorely missed on the race track by everyone in the paddock and in the stands. His contributions to the sport of motor racing are too many to list but I can tell you that they go way beyond what he has done on the track.
“What’s both impressive and unique about Dario is that he has always been a student of racing, someone who not only appreciates the actual science of the sport but also the rich heritage of those racers that have gone before him. This news only serves as the start of next chapter in Dario Franchitti’s racing career – which I expect will be here with Target Chip Ganassi Racing.”
Our IndyCar correspondent Matt Lennon will pen a complete tribute piece in honour of Dario’s amazing career, which will be published on RichardsF1.com shortly.