Video: Former IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti suffers broken back and ankle in horrifying crash in Houston

Several spectators were also injured in the accident when the three-time Indy 500 winner collided with ex-Formula One driver Takuma Sato on the final lap of Sunday's Grand Prix of Houston

Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti has suffered serious injuries after a horrific crash during the IndyCar Series’ Grand Prix of Houston, in which several members of the crowd were hit by flying debris.

Franchitti clashed with ex-Formula One driver Takuma Sato on the final lap of the race held on the streets of Texas, with his Target Chip Ganassi Racing car launching into the air after colliding heavily with the concrete wall marking the track limits.

The Scottish racer, who has won the IndyCar series an impressive four-times, suffered a broken back in the crash as well as a fractured ankle and a serious concussion.

IndyCar released a statement via their official Twitter feed to confirm that Franchitti was awake upon his arrival at the hospital, and that he would be monitored overnight as he begins his recovery.

“IZOD IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti was admitted awake and alert to Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center in Houston for a concussion, spinal fracture that will require no surgery and a fracture to the right ankle.

“He will be kept overnight.”

The 40-year-old was left with nowhere to go when Sato appeared to lose the rear of his car, sliding accidentally into Franchitti’s path. His Dallara DW12 – named in memory of former racer Dan Wheldon – immediately decimated upon impact, with its design built with specific crumple areas to take the brunt of the impact.

“On the last lap I caught the marbles and brushed the wall and lost momentum,” said Sato. “A couple cars passed me as I was offline and in Turn 5. I got very loose and Dario and I came together.”

This did however result in a large amount of debris scattering into the crowd, with IndyCar confirming that an official and two fans were taken to hospital.

“Following an accident that occurred on-track at the Grand Prix of Houston this afternoon, our greatest concern is for our fans and participants,” Mi-Jack Promotions, promoter of the Grand Prix of Houston, IndyCar and Reliant Park officials said in a joint statement.

Franchitti dedicated his 2012 Indy 500 victory to his close friend Dan Wheldon Franchitti dedicated his 2012 Indy 500 victory to his close friend Dan Wheldon  

The sight of the crash brought back horrifying memories of the collision that took Englishman Wheldon’s life two years ago next week, when he was involved in a mass pile-up at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Franchitti, a close friend of Wheldon’s, went on to win an emotionally charged 2012 Indy 500, and broke down into tears after the race when dedicating the victory the Wheldon. Those watching yesterday will have breathed a huge sigh of relief with the news that Franchitti was conscious when taken to the hospital, but the incident is a stark reminder of how dangerous the sport can be.

Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash