Motor racing world mourns Justin Wilson

The world of motor racing was in mourning today after the death of Justin Wilson was confirmed.

Motor racing world mourns Justin Wilson

The world of motor racing was in mourning today after the death of Justin Wilson was confirmed.

The news emerged little over 24 hours after he was struck on the helmet by a piece of debris at Pocono Raceway. It knocked him unconscious and he crashed into a wall.

Jenson Button led the tributes from the world of F1.

The tragedy comes just 37 days after Frenchman Jules Bianchi succumbed to the devastating injuries he sustained at last year's Japanese Grand Prix.

Henry Surtees, the son of John Surtees - the only man to win a world championship on both two and four wheels - was killed at Brands Hatch in 2009. He was hit on the head by an errant wheel in a Formula Two race.

Wilson was a well-known, and likeable face in the motor racing community.

He won the Formula 3000 series in 2001, and two years later he raised the best part of US$2m to fulfil his lifelong ambition of racing in Formula One.

Some 700 shareholders spent £500 - a further two paid a six-figure sum - to invest in Justin Wilson PLC, a company the Sheffield-born racer set up in his own name - in the hope that he would one day be crowned world champion.

He made 16 Grands Prix career starts, 11 of those were for minnows Minardi, a further five more for Jaguar.

He scored the solitary point of his Formula One career in his penultimate outing after finishing eighth in Indianapolis. And it was across the pond where he would ultimately enjoy his greatest success.

Standing at 6ft 4in, Wilson's gangly figure made him stand out in the motor racing paddock. Jockeys are diminutive. Most racing drivers are not much bigger.

Lewis Hamilton, the world champion, is 5ft 7in. That is the norm. Wilson was the exception and his Formula One dream was soon over.

He headed to the United States, where he won four races in three years and finished as runner-up in the Champ Car series in 2006 and 2007. He made over a century of starts in IndyCar, winning three times.

Wilson's career was winding down when Sunday's tragedy struck. His final outing was only his sixth of the season as he struggled to find a full-time seat, but the impression he made on the motor racing family was undeniable.

Tony Stewart, one of America's best-known racers, lent his private plane and pilots to Wilson's family as they raced to be at his hospital bedside in Allentown in Pennsylvania from their family home in Indianapolis.

Wilson leaves behind a wife Julie, who he married in 2006, and two young daughters - Jane Louise and Jessica Lynne.

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