Northampton

Justin Wilson: British IndyCar driver's funeral takes place

Funeral of Justin Wilson
Image caption Justin Wilson suffered serious head injuries during the crash

The funeral has taken place of British IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, who died during a race last month in America.

Wilson, 37, and from Sheffield, was struck by flying debris and suffered head injuries during the Pocono IndyCar 500 race in Pennsylvania on 23 August.

About 500 people attended the seven-time IndyCar race winner's funeral at Paulerspury in Northamptonshire.

The family, friends and colleagues joined Wilson's widow Julia at Silverstone afterwards.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber and retired IndyCar racer Dario Franchitti were among the pallbearers.

Webber said: "It was an honour for me to do that for the family because we are a family in many ways when it comes to motorsport.

"We know the dangers are always there. Motorsport has had good and bad patches when it comes to these tragic events and when it is really close to home then it hits you even harder.

"You think of the family and everyone who is going to be affected by this. Motorsport is a tight-knit family and when we need to get together in really tough times we do our best."

Jonathan Palmer, the former F1 driver who took Wilson on as a protégé, and former F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart also attended.

Image caption Family and friends gathered at St James the Great in Paulerspury
Image copyright AP
Image caption Justin Wilson at the Milwaukee Mile in July

Palmer, who read an 11-minute eulogy in his honour, said: "Justin was the innocent victim in a cruel twist of fate when he was hit by flying debris from an incident ahead. It still feels like a bad dream but tragically it is only too real."

The father of two died a day after Sage Karam's car spun and crashed in front of him on lap 179 of 200.

Wilson's major motorsport breakthrough came in F1.

He won the Formula 3000 series in 2001, and two years later raised £1.2m to finance his F1 entry after setting up a company in his own name.

Wilson scored his only point from 16 races with Minardi and Jaguar during 2003 at the United States Grand Prix.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption IndyCar drivers paid tribute to Wilson on 28 August as they crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in California

He moved to the US in 2004 and enjoyed greater success in Champ Car, finishing as series runner-up in 2006 and 2007 before switching to IndyCar racing in 2008, after Champ Car merged with the Indy Racing League.

He finished second in the previous IndyCar race in Mid-Ohio on 2 August, his first podium finish since 2013, while his final victory came at the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway in June 2012.

Mark Miles, chief executive of IndyCar parent company Hulman & Co, paid tribute to Wilson's "elite ability" and his "unwavering kindness, character and humility".

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites