Hundreds attend the funeral of British IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon

Hundreds of people have turned out to mourn British IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon in St Petersburg, Florida.

Fellow racers, including pallbearers Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan, attended the funeral.

The Buckinghamshire-born driver died aged 33, in a 15 car pile-up at the Las Vegas Indy 300  .

He won his second Indianapolis 500 earlier in 2011 after becoming the first Englishman to win the race for almost 40 years in 2005.

Although the last few days have been unbearable for our family, the overwhelming love and support we have received are rays of sunshine during these dark days

Susie Wheldon Dan Wheldon's widow

That victory helped him to win the IndyCar championship in 2005 .

Saturday's funeral was held in Wheldon's adopted hometown of St Petersburg, where he lived with wife Susie and their young sons Sebastian and Oliver.

Mrs Wheldon invited the city's community to attend the memorial service.

A minute's applause was also held before kick-off at the League One football game between MK Dons and Scunthorpe in honour of the driver.

He was born in the village of Emberton just outside Milton Keynes.

"You were a true lionheart, my love. Thank you for sharing your love and your life with me," his wife wrote in a letter to her husband which was read for her at the service.

Before the funeral Mrs Wheldon said: "Although the last few days have been unbearable for our family, the overwhelming love and support we have received are rays of sunshine during these dark days.

"The outpouring of sympathy and condolences has been so comforting and I want to thank everyone for their kind notes, letters, gifts and flowers."

The car in which Wheldon won the 2011 Indy 500 will be stripped and put back together in the condition it would have started the famous race - then donated to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Adam Dominguez, who will be working on the vehicle, said: "We've just been told to make the car look absolutely perfect.

Mark Webber's blog

It was difficult not to hit it off with him - he was a likeable bloke

"It's not a pay cheque. It's for a cause."

Meanwhile, celebrities from American sport and Hollywood have donated items for an auction to benefit his family.

IndyCar Series chiefs, along with world motor sport governing body the FIA, have launched an investigation into the crash which killed Wheldon.

The driver died from severe head injuries when his car flew into the air and hit a safety fence.

The 1.5mile oval in Las Vegas was hosting its first IndyCar event for 11 years.