James Hinchcliffe, one of IndyCar’s most popular drivers, said on Tuesday he was retiring from full-time races in the series.
The Canadian driver said he will not be retiring and will explore other types of racing. Andretti Autosport did not renew his contract for next year.
“With over a decade of incredible memories in the bank, I am happy to report that I am stepping away from full-time IndyCar competition,” Hinchcliffe posted on social networks. “It was not a decision taken lightly and it was taken with the full support of my family and my closest supporters. There are many factors, both personal and professional, that prompted me to make this decision. , but I really felt the time was right. “
I’m going to hang on to the bar, set the mood … pic.twitter.com/KXFXETtnxx
– James Hinchcliffe (@Hinchtown) December 14, 2021
Hinchcliffe, 35, had a tough season returning to Andretti in 2021 and only landed one podium, third place on the street course in Nashville. His next best result was 14th on two separate occasions, in Detroit and in the season finale at Long Beach.
The “Mayor of Hinchtown” is a two-time most popular IndyCar driver and was a finalist in the 2016 “Dancing with the Stars” season. He is a six-time IndyCar winner and started on pole for the 100th Indianapolis 500 in 2016, a year after being nearly killed in a crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
He started first for the Indy 500 three times in nine appearances. Hinchcliffe failed to qualify in 2018; in 2015, he watched from the hospital after a broken part of his car pierced an artery in his upper left thigh. Hinchcliffe lost 14 pints of blood as he was rushed to hospital after the crash during a training session.
Hinchcliffe made his IndyCar debut in 2011 with Newman Haas Racing, spent the next three seasons driving for Andretti, then drove five years with Sam Schmidt. He was released with a year remaining on his contract after the 2019 season and made six starts for Andretti the following year.
He has worked full time with Andretti this season, but was replaced by Devlin DeFrancesco last month. Hinchcliffe finished 20th in the series standings in 2021.
“In 2011, I achieved my life’s goal of being an IndyCar driver,” said Hinchcliffe. “I remember almost every minute of the trip getting there. There were a lot of ups and downs. Through all the challenges and the uncertainty there were two constants, my unwavering desire to be successful in IndyCar and the unwavering support from my family For the next 11 years, I lived my dream in a way that a nine year old, sitting in a kart for the first time, could never have imagined. “
He said he wasn’t planning on retiring from the race, but Hinchcliffe could head to the TV booth. He has worked as an analyst before, most notably for CBS over the summer during Tony Stewart’s all-star racing series and IndyCar races for NBC in 2020.
NBC Sports, which owns the rights to IndyCar, has not retained former driver Paul Tracy as analyst.