POV VIDEO. 5G, 305kph Indy Car Oval run

Jump on-board with JR Hildebrand at the Phoenix International Raceway for a 5G, 305kph in his 2017 Ed Carpenter Racing Indy Car

Those of you about to say ‘how cute’ when watching an IndyCar pulling over 5Gs on an oval may want to think twice, given how dangerous travelling at over 305kph on a banked circuit with little to no room for error can be. Back in 1993, Nigel Mansell, fresh from his time in the V12, active suspension era of Formula 1, hit the wall so hard in Phoenix that he broke not only most of his car – which ignited, by the way – but also ruptured several discs in his back. Emerson Fittipaldi’s motorsport career came to a fiery end in 1996 when his Hogan Penske speared into the barrier at close to 250kph, breaking his neck in the process. Kenny Brack, a former Indy 500 winner, nearly ended his life against the catch fencing at Texas in 2003 in an accident that measured 214G of deceleration that fractured hi sternum, both his legs, ruptured several discs in his back, and crushed both his ankles. How he managed, 10 years later, to wrestle a Ford GT40 around Goodwood by the scruff of the neck is anybody’s guess.


Let’s see, other notable injuries in IndyCar oval racing…

Alex Zanardi’s near-death experience in 2001 is well documented. Hildebrand himself famously lost a maiden win in the Indy 500 when he got ‘high on the marbles’ and lost his front wheel on the run the flag. Kevin Cogan’s Machinists Union Racing March disintegrated against the pitwall at the 1989 Indy 500, under safety car conditions no less. The force of Danny Ongais’ shunt at Indy (again) in 1981 managed to rip the entire front nosecone off his, leaving fans watching the race live convinced the American had died on impact (don’t worry, he survived). And this isn’t even considering the likes of Greg Moore, Tony Renna, Paul Dana, Justin Wilson and former champion Dan Wheldon, all of whom tragically lost their lives on an IndyCar oval within the last 20 years.

The point is, oval racing, by it’s very definition, is dangerous, as Mike Conway (fractured his spine at Indy), Mikhail Aleshin (knocked unconscious at Fontana), Simona de Silvestro (cut from her car during Indy 500 practice) and even four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti (mid-air flip, twice) can attest within the last three years. That JR Hildebrand’s recent POV, 5G, 305kph run at the Phoenix International Raceway can be considered anything other than brave is frankly insulting. Motorsport is littered, after all, with examples of what can so easily happen when things go wrong at those speeds on the oval…

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