Hinchcliffe on return: “This day has been motivating me for four months”
James Hinchcliffe took the lunch hour break of his return to his No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda at Road America to participate in a Periscope video interview with IndyCar, and update the world on his status.
We can confirm he’s still fast and still maintains his wicked sense of humor.
“We have a couple simple goals. Make sure the car comes back in one piece. And make sure I come back in one piece,” Hinchcliffe said during the Periscope interview, already poking fun at his own injuries sustained in his accident at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that sidelined him for four months.
Prior to the day, he spoke to SportsNet reporter Todd Lewis about his hopes for getting back in the car.
“I literally got to the track today and said, ‘Merry Christmas,’ to all the guys,” Hinchcliffe told Lewis. “The last couple weeks for the toughest. I felt ready to get back in the car, but I was awaiting doctor approval and clearance. We’re ahead of schedule on everything. An easy two months ahead of where we should be.”
Hinchcliffe elaborated in the Periscope interview what it meant to return to start the day out, getting back behind the wheel and returning to arguably his favorite track in the United States.
“It feels great man. This is a day that’s been motivating me for last four months,” Hinchcliffe said. “If it’d been [returning] in a parking lot I’d be happy… instead it’s the greatest road course in this country. Working with the guys. It’s everything.
“On the install lap when I went out, I was nervous. I haven’t done the procedural stuff in a long time. It was all a bit foreign. But once I put the hammer down, it all came back. This track is so incredible to drive an IndyCar around.”
Hinchcliffe has raced at Road America not annually, but overall for the better part of a decade from 2004 to 2014. He’s won races in Formula BMW and Pro Mazda, and also competed in Formula Atlantic and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
But taking the Carousel on in an IndyCar appeared to leave the usually loquacious Hinchcliffe breathless.
“Let’s talk about IndyCar at the Carousel for a second. That corner… It was mind boggling in a Formula BMW car. It was scary in a Pro Mazda car. It was terrifying in an Atlantic car.
“The fact we can go as quick as we can, nearly flat out in fourth gear, it defies physics. I wish I could share that experience with you.”
You can watch the replay of the full Hinchcliffe Periscope interview, linked here.