James Hinchcliffe has drawn a line under a full-time IndyCar career that yielded eight wins and pole position for the 2016 Indianapolis 500.
“In 2011 I realized a lifelong goal of becoming an IndyCar driver,” the popular Canadian wrote in a social media post announcing his decision.
“I remember almost every minute of the journey getting there. There were many ups, and many downs. Through all the challenges and uncertainty there were two constants; my unabated desire to make it to IndyCar and my family’s unwavering support. In the 11 years that followed I lived out my dream in a way that a nine year old kid, sitting in a kart for the first time, could never have imagined.
“With a decade plus of incredible memories in the bank, I am happy to announce I am stepping away from full time IndyCar competition. This was not a decision taken lightly, and it was one made with the full support of my family and closest supporters. There were many factors, both personal and professional, that led me to this decision, but it truly felt like the time is right.”
Hinchcliffe’s decision comes off the back of a frustrating 2021 campaign with Andretti Autosport that featured one podium and left him 20th in points — his lowest-ever championship position, excluding seasons where he raced part-time. It also comes at a time when there is no clear path forward for him to continue as an IndyCar full-timer, with almost all of the 2022 seats now spoken for, although his experience at the Speedway would be a valuable asset to teams looking to fill cars for the 500. The 35-year-old is also thought to be exploring opportunities in IMSA, and he emphasized that he intends to continue racing elsewhere.
“This is by no means a retirement from racing!” he wrote in his statement. “If anything, this decision has freed me up to dip my toes into other forms of motorsport and explore other interests and opportunities. More on that coming soon!
“I want to thank my teams, teammates, competitors, the IndyCar series officials, staff and volunteers, sponsors, supporters, of course my family, and last but certainly not least, the fans of IndyCar racing. Without any one of these groups of people my time in IndyCar would not have been possible. Thanks for the memories, and I hope to see you all at the track.”
Hinchcliffe’s best season came during his first stint at Andretti in 2013 when he collected three wins, although inconsistency across the rest of the year prevented him from mounting a proper run at the title and he eventually finished in eighth.
He was gravely injured in a horrific crash during practice for the Indy 500 in 2015 and missed the rest of the season while recovering, but rebounded to claim a sensational pole at the Brickyard the following May. His most recent win came in 2018 at Iowa, where he’d won previously, although all of his other victories were delivered at street courses, including the ‘one and done’ Grand Prix of Louisiana at rain-soaked NOLA in early 2015.