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by giraurd 25 Aug 2015, 08:09
There are few words I can say right now. But there are some that I've written earlier that now feel like a decent tribute - this is a (written part of a) Reject Profile on him that I constructed during July as he was still well and active, and as we had the lack of content on the new site. Just didn't want it to be the first article to be published, as I felt my writings were insufficient to honor Enoch's works enough.

Sources are difficult to enlist, but they can be provided individually for statements and events if needed...

Yeah. Certainly I feel like his profile doesn't deserve to get an ending.

Rest in Peace, Justin. Condolences to his family.


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Justin Wilson

Nationality: British
Date of Birth: 31 July 1978
Teams: Minardi, Jaguar (2003)
Races Entered: 16
Races Started: 16
Best Result: 8th, US Grand Prix 2003

Featuring in the record books for being the tallest F1 driver ever, Justin Wilson found his career prospects in the sport limited despite a respectable debut season

Career Summary

1987-1993 - Karting
1994 - Formula Vauxhall Junior Winter Series
1995 - Champion in Formula Vauxhall Junior Challenge Cup; 3rd in Formula Vauxhall Junior for John Village Automotive
1996 - 2nd in Formula Vauxhall Junior for Paul Stewart Racing
1997 - 4th in Formula Vauxhall; Formula Opel Europe for Paul Stewart Racing
1998 - Champion in Formula Palmer Audi

1999 - 20th in Formula 3000 International for Team Astromega - 2 points
2000 - 5th in Formula 3000 International for Nordic Racing - 2 podiums
2001 - Champion in Formula 3000 International for Coca-Cola Nordic Racing - 3 wins; FIA GT with Coca-Cola Racing; Formula One test for Jordan
2002 - 4th in World Series by Nissan for Racing Engineering - 2 wins; 12 Hours of Sebring for Team Ascari

2003 - 20th in Formula One for Minardi and Jaguar

2004 - 11th in Champ Car for Conquest Racing; 24 Hours of Le Mans for Racing for Holland (DNF); 12 Hours of Sebring for Taurus Racing
2005 - 3rd in Champ Car for RuSPORT - 2 wins
2006 - 2nd in Champ Car for RuSPORT - 1 win; 24 Hours of Daytona for Michael Shank Racing (2nd)
2007 - 2nd in Champ Car for RuSPORT - 1 win; Grand-Am for Michael Shank Racing
2008 - 11th in IndyCar for Newman/Haas/Lanigan - 1 win; Grand-Am for Michael Shank Racing
2009 - 9th in IndyCar for Dale Coyne Racing - 1 win
2010 - 11th in IndyCar for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing - 2 podiums; Grand-Am for Chip Ganassi Racing
2011 - 24th in IndyCar for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing; Grand-Am for Michael Shank Racing
2012 - 15th in IndyCar for Dale Coyne Racing - 1 win; Winner of 24 Hours of Daytona for Michael Shank Racing; V8 Supercars for Kelly Racing
2013 - 6th in IndyCar for Dale Coyne Racing - 4 podiums; Grand-Am for Michael Shank Racing
2014 - 15th in IndyCar for Dale Coyne Racing; USCC for Michael Shank Racing
2015 - IndyCar for Andretti Autosport; Formula E for Andretti Autosport; USCC for Michael Shank Racing; Pikes Peak hillclimb

BEFORE FORMULA ONE

In motorsport, wallet sizes dictate lots of things. From Sheffield, England, Justin Wilson created a career out of fighting against the power of wallet with his determination. Having finally faced a defeat in Formula One level, Wilson took his skills over the pond to have a long, respectable career in American open wheel racing instead.

Wilson, born into a racing family - his father Keith’s racing career concluded early due to an injury - began doing karting in 1987, and would soon compete against a generation of future British racing talent, featuring the likes of Jenson Button, Dan Wheldon and Anthony Davidson. Justin’s karting years would produce little in the form of victories and titles, but improvement was to come after a switch into Formula Vauxhall in 1994; he won a Challenge Cup title in 1995, and would move to Jackie Stewart’s son Paul’s team the year following. Despite being beaten to the 1996 title by Peter Dumbreck and falling to fourth in the 1997 championship, Justin left a good impression on the Stewarts, thus creating a whole new problem for them: they had nowhere to put their exceptionally tall prospect! Quoting Sir Jackie, “Justin was very, very good but he couldn’t have fitted in the Formula Three car at the time so we had to let him go. It was certainly not the right decision based on driving talent.”

Determined to chase his Formula One dream, Wilson didn’t simply give up on the open wheel ladder, in spite of getting de-railed. With his father, Justin went to Jonathan Palmer for advice, from what they learned of the new one-make, one-team Formula Palmer Audi championship that was getting formed for 1998 - and Justin ended up winning the inaugural title with nine victories out of seventeen! As the prize, Wilson received a Palmer-funded Formula 3000 drive for the Belgian Team Astromega the year following.

The Formula 3000 season started out promising as Wilson scored an impressive P6 in his series debut at Imola, immediately behind his third-year team mate Gonzalo Rodríguez. His new “manager” Palmer instantly took the opportunity to market the name of his new star around - soon enough - at the very following race in Monaco - Team Astromega arrived in the united colours of Wilson’s brand new sponsor Benetton F1 team! Justin celebrated the occasion by spinning in qualifying and binning in the first corner, whilst the Uruguayan in the other Astromega won.
Barcelona saw Wilson recover strongly, qualifying a P5 and having a blast of a start to a race-long battle against the Brazilian duo of Enrique Bernoldi and Max Wilson. Entering the final lap, the English Wilson had caught and kept hounding the Brazilian one for the last podium place. Justin made his move put his car on the inside on the main straight - just to see the Brazilian push him onto the grass at full speed. Showing great determination and bravery, the Englishman spectacularly kept his foot down; shaking his fist he entered turn one alongside the Brazilian, allowing Max to chop Justin as well! This resulted in a clumsy collision, an event which ended with a Brazilian on the sand and an Englishman nursing his car home on a now-disappointing P6. Max would still attempt to put the blame on Justin, but FIA saw otherwise and disqualified the Brazilian for causing a collision.

Wilson had now put his name onto the racing map with a sparkly drive in only his third Formula 3000 race, but the rest of the season would be much bleaker. An anonymous race after barely qualifying in Magny-Cours was followed by three retirements in three races. Hungaroring was better - in qualifying he was faster than Rodríguez for the first time on equal terms, and finished P7, just behind Jason Watt. Then came Spa, and Justin decided to demonstrate his balls once again - this time by putting his car alongside Alex Yoong, who was having a strong debut race, after three DNQ’s. In Eau Rouge. One can easily fathom what kind of an accident was to follow when things went wrong - very luckily, albeit after worrying scenes with Yoong un-conscious for 20 minutes, the Malaysian didn’t suffer life-damaging injuries from the 260kph impact. Wilson received strong criticism for the collision, with Yoong’s team boss flat out calling him “mad” to make a pass attempt there.

Rodríguez sadly got killed in Laguna Seca try-outing in CART for the Penske team, so Astromega only entered one car for the final weekend in Nürburgring. It definitely seemed that fate had a particularly twisty sense of humour, as a strong qualifying was converted to a clipped rear tyre in the first few corners, the tyre suffering a blow-out, and Justin’s car careening into the path of - you guessed it - Alex Yoong. This ended Justin’s downward-sloping season with mere two points in ten races, against Rodríguez’ 27 - but the debutant had impressed people anyway thanks to his combined aggressiveness and consistency, him being one of the only seven drivers to qualify for every race in the plus 40 car field reminiscent of the Formula One fields of the late 80’s. Autosport, for instance, ranked the him the tenth best driver all season.

For the 2000 season Astromega lost their Benetton sponsorship, and Justin was off to Nordic Racing. Wilson found his pace in the second race at Silverstone, and despite a spin on his fastest lap he would both qualify and finish third, his maiden F3000 podium. The next couple races, though, were marred by mediocrity and Franck Montagny, who spectacularly collected a spun Wilson at Nürburgring and then beat him in a battle for sixth in Monaco. Prior to Austria, somewhat surprisingly Nordic Racing found a sponsor from Coca-Cola, as their Central European branch chose to sponsor the British team with an all-British lineup, with the Coca-Cola logo being prominently displayed on Wilson’s car for the rest of the season.

This news clearly gave Justin a boost, since in A1-Ring he probably gave the best showing of his career that far. Wilson carved through from his midfield starting position, making several passes on track and finishing a strong P2 behind Nicolas Minassian. The rainy Hockenheim weekend didn’t go well at all: Wilson had a bad qualifying span out of the race on slicks, but the season ended in a better tune somewhat, as he scored two fifth places in Hungaroring and Spa, having also started from front row in Hungaroring but suffering from the poor grip at the start. The finishes also ensured Wilson finishing a very respectable fifth in the final standings, in a stark contrast to his team-mate McGarrity who only scored points once, and a contract extension with his team. Coca-Cola would up its involvement with the team for the next year and became the primary sponsor. The increased also meant that Nordic hired a Czechman to drive the second car, in the name of Tomas Enge.

2001 saw the series stick with the familiar Lola B99/50 chassis and Zytek engines. For their experience and proven speed in these cars Wilson and Enge were both named as possible title challengers prior to the season - Mark Webber on his sophomore year was considered the title favorite though, having just switched over to the F3000 powerhouse Super Nova team. Not even strong performances in pre-season testing, though, could prevent an all-Brazilian top four in the opening qualifying at Interlagos in front of their home crowd, with Justin a disappointing 7th on the grid.

The said Brazilians went on to organize a royal screw up amongst themselves. First would Ricardo Sperafico meet the wall in the first corner, and then Antônio Pizzonia, Rodrigo Sperafico and Enge passed the pole sitter Jaime Melo under safety car. After a long thinking break the trio finally got a stop-and-go penalty; and bam, Justin was in the lead, having had passed Melo too - only legally. Wilson happily took his chance and comfortably led the remainder of the race for his first victory in the series. It must be that Justin is a great fan of Vittorio Brambilla, since in an emulation of the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix, the maiden winner lost control immediately after taking the chequered flag, and had a high-speed spin - only skill and blind luck sparing him a meeting with the pitwall! (In another sad coincidence of fate, the Monza Gorilla passed away less than two months later - perhaps he had seen a fit successor of his to join the motorsport ranks in the form of a lanky Englishman...)

Wilson finished a lowly 6th in Imola. At Barcelona Wilson failed to convert a pole to nothing better than a P3, and it was Enge who stood at the top step of the podium instead. Then, at A1-Ring Justin - again! - inherited the lead not thanks to his own doing, when the three leaders took themselves out in a silly first corner pile-up. Bas Leinders wasn’t strong opposition enough for Wilson not to take another win, allowing him to open a bit of a gap to his team-mate Enge in the standings with 25 points to his 18. Title favorite Webber had suffered from unluck in the first races and only had scored in Imola where he led lights to flag - a repeat of that in Monaco now allowed him a little closer to Wilson, who trailed the Aussie throughout the race. A brake failure leading to Wilson’s retirement in Nürburgring allowed the title fight to tighten up, now with Webber and Enge both within five points of Wilson. After Magny-Cours qualifying the fight must have looked wide open for Enge, as he astonishingly beat Webber to pole by over half a second and leaving Wilson fourth. Less than astonishingly though, Enge failed to convert his qualifying dominance into a decent race start, allowing Webber to easily win ahead of the Coca-Cola Nordic pair. Enge then made a small error on the final lap: Justin took his chance to maneuver through and cling on to the points lead.

This humiliation was the beginning of the end for the Czechman’s title hunt as he could only score seven points from then on, making way too many mistakes even if he often was the fastest man on the grid. Webber, on the other hand, again started to get involved in accidents. This caused his final five results to read as follows: 4th, start crash, spin, massive crash in Eau Rouge, start crash. What about Justin, then? 2nd, 2nd, pole to win at Hungaroring, 2nd, 2nd. A brilliantly consistent season, and rivals’ struggles, allowed Britain’s first (and only) F3000 champion eventually break all previous dominance records with a staggering 32 point gap to Webber and Enge!

In the 80’s and 90’s, it would be almost a given for the new F3000 champion to get a Formula One ride. However, times had changed, and team managers - who weren’t looking for money, which Justin didn’t have as Coca-Cola chose to bail from following their drivers to F1 - were taking preference in trying to find their wonderkid straight from the lower categories instead of the F3000 stalwarts. Wilson became a victim of this, too - he fared well in his first F1 test with Jordan, but got pipped out of the ride by the British F3 champion Takuma Sato; not exactly surprising, as the Japanese driver was well liked by the Honda bosses. Wilson would have to settle with a lesser World Series by Nissan drive for the year following in the Racing Engineering outfit, with Palmer left trying to seek for new ways to obtain cash.

The World Series by Nissan season wasn’t as stellar, and Wilson would have a weak start for the season, allowing Ricardo Zonta run away with the championship. Out of the 18 rounds Wilson only won twice (irregards of scoring 12 podiums in the narrow field), and got soundly beaten by his French team-mate Franck Montagny, the 2001 champion - it was evident Justin’s heart wasn’t really in this campaign. He was dabbling around with sportscars, taking part in the 12 Hours of Sebring with the Ascari squad - the all-debutant squad also consisting of Christian Vann and Ben Collins did well to bring the LMP900 car home on 6th place after early struggles. Then Yoong’s Minardi seat opened up for two races, only for Wilson to visit the factory, find himself too tall to fit in the car and the team going for Anthony Davidson instead. Finally he had a try-out test set up with the CART powerhouse Newman/Haas Racing, but that was soon forgotten when Justin’s career took another surprising turn.

Paul Stoddart, the Minardi boss, announced in December that Minardi was going to build their 2003 effort around Wilson, in an effort to give another debutant a chance - all Justin needed was to find a bit of funding. “We have got a little bit of a tradition now, first with Fernando and then with Mark and I really feel Justin’s capable of continuing that tradition where we get a star a year”, stated the Australian - but didn’t forget to remind that Formula One was no cheap business and the financial realities of the lower end of the grid were tough. The Wilsons were even contemplating selling Keith’s garage business to fund Justin’s seat - and this is where Wilson’s management was to step in. As they were an estimated £1.2 million short of the required sum of around £3.5 million, Palmer promptly put together a ground-breaking “Invest in Wilson” scheme where anyone could buy shares in Britain’s new F1 talent for a minimum of £500. The program ended up over-subscribed, having attracted over 900 shareholders!

FORMULA ONE

As the Australian Grand Prix began, it was Justin Wilson and Jos Verstappen firmly installed in the Minardi cockpits. Stoddart was optimistic about the chances of his Faenza-based team. Especially for the new Ford engines Minardi would be getting, he predicted a significant step up from the previous seasons, even stating hopes that his team could fight for the seventh place in championship. Still, their funding was tight as always, and Minardi could do little testing prior to the opening weekend, which led to Minardi having to abandon their runs in second qualifying to be permitted to modify their cars for the race.

Notorious for being no easy on debutants even on dry conditions, this time Albert Park chose to make it even more difficult for the 2003 rookies by introducing them to the Melbourne weather: at the start the track was still damp after a drizzle earlier in the day. Wilson, as opposed to most of the grid, chose to gamble on dry tyres: and that was the correct decision, as he kept his head cool, had a careful start from dead last and as the dry-spec Bridgestones found heat and performance, Justin would find himself on 12th place after only a single lap, and 9th after the second! Naturally, he couldn’t keep his position for long, but would still keep his Minardi between the white lines, whereas some of the other rookies in da Matta and Firman managed less than 10 laps before a self-inflicted retirement. A problem with the radiator caused an early retirement for Wilson, too, but it was a respectable showing for Wilson nonetheless.

At the Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying Verstappen had the upper hand again, as he did in Q1 of Melbourne, leaving Wilson only ahead of Firman’s Jordan in the grid. And again it was Wilson, who turned the tables in the race, had a bullet start and barge his way up the field. Taking advantage of the crashes of the front runners, Justin found himself on P8 after lap one - even if again quite short-lived for him and his slow Minardi, but they were still onto a good result - if not for a rather unique problem which was to emerge: about 20 laps in he started feeling uncomfortable and experiencing pain in shoulders, despite being reputed for being in a good shape. Wilson didn’t know what was wrong, and no attempts to stretch his arms to make it better were successful. Then he managed to flat-spot his tyres to add to the pain. “Such incredible vibration that your vision goes blurred”, Wilson recalls. “Anything above fourth gear I could just about make out the edge of the track. Everything else was impossible, just a blur of colour”. Only 42 laps in Wilson finally succumbed to the fatigue, and brought it to pits to retire. The cause was found to be soon: ill-fitting seat belts, which had slipped off and made his shoulders to take in all the weight from the bumps! The poor Briton felt devastated, having had to retire a perfectly good car and lost a potential top ten position over such a trivial error.

Any readers somehow unaware of the happenings during the unforgettable 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix should now look to find the replay of the race to watch it and stop reading spoilers from this profile. In any case, F1 aficionados are likely to remember Stoddart’s claims that had Verstappen kept it on the track, he would have taken the win for Minardi over the eventual winner Giancarlo Fisichella - what is less remembered that it was only decided by coin toss that Verstappen, not Wilson went on the full tank strategy - favorite stuff for all the what if scenarios… In any case, Wilson ended up the first of the many victims of Curva do Sol by having a spin there. A problem with the anti-stall system ended his race short, after (again!) running well in the mid-pack.

Imola race was a dismal effort for the Minardi team as both cars started from the pitlane and Justin had to retire due to a malfunctioning refuelling machine, but things finally came together in Barcelona. In now a typical Wilson fashion, he took the full advantage of the first lap mayhem ahead of him, and found himself on P9 before the safety car came. Valiantly, Wilson managed to create quite a train behind him, consisting of Fisichella, Webber and Coulthard but allowing none through - the Minardi man held to his position until his first pit stop on lap seventeen. Eventually, Wilson finished one lap down, but well ahead of the last finisher Verstappen.

During the next couple of races it started to become increasingly evident that Minardi’s hopes of making a step into the mid-grid had been a tad over-optimistic. To add to the clouds over Wilson’s skies, the old Verstappen somewhat re-found his lost speed and became the more impressive Minardi in quali trim. However, he continued to suffer from unluck in races. Whereas Jos’ launch control failed in Austria, Justin could again get a smell of top ten making use of a safety car to momentarily find himself 9th, but eventually finished two laps down and last. Fuel vaporization problems led to an early finish in Monaco for both Minardi cars, but Montreal saw Wilson again have one of his trademark strong first laps, 18th to 13th. In the traditionally attrition-ridden race, Justin was well on the way to finish ahead of his Verstappen who had a stunner lap in qualifying to P15 and eventually finished 9th - only with 8 laps to go, Justin’s car got struck by a gearbox failure. European GP was a trundle-around-excercise for both the Minardis, Wilson finishing two laps down 13th but ahead of his team-mate.

Then came the legendary Friday qualifying at Magny-Cours. Its competitive significance in 2003 was somewhat questionable - to put it kindly - as it only served to determine the qualifying order for the qualifying proper on Saturday. Nevertheless, when the drying conditions decided to play pranks that day and the system allowed those lowest positioned in the championship have a go last, the combination produced a memorable result with both the Minardis a whopping 2.5 seconds faster than the third-place man Ralph Firman, and the likes of Michael Schumacher some seven seconds down! Later that day Justin’s second place time, 0.2 seconds down on Jos the Boss, was disqualified for his car being underweight, both Minardis would be at the back in the grid proper and riddled with mechanical problems in the race to finish 14th and 16th, but it was an unforgettable moment anyway.

Silverstone was the same old story again, except with the twist that this time Wilson beat Verstappen in qualifying, and the roles then reversed in the race due to Justin having problems with fueling systems (surprise, surprise). It would not bother Wilson for long as that was to remain the one and only time Verstappen beat Wilson to the flag, for the bosses at Jaguar finally grew unsatisfied with the pointless Antônio Pizzonia.

Wilson did know that Jaguar was interested in him, since he had even visited the Jaguar factory before Silverstone to test whether he fit in the car - understandable for a driver of his height, but it still came as a surprise to him that he would be replacing Pizzonia from Germany on already! Justin didn’t have to think twice about it - Mark Webber had demonstrated the Jaguar’s potential with multiple fantastic performances, and instead of having problems about Justin’s move Stoddart only seemed happy to have served a launching board to another driver’s career, predicting that the partnership between Wilson and Webber would work well. Come the Friday qualifying, and it seemed the lanky Brit had already adjusted with his car - seventh quickest time, just 0.3 seconds behind an “immense” lap set by the former F3000 title rival Webber, was seen very positively by the Jaguar head honchos. Quali proper was a struggle, however, and Justin’s magic at starts ran short as he had nowhere to go in the first corner melee.

Then Webber started flying. Third fastest in Hungaroring qualifying one, then repeating it in Q2 after a spectacular lap - missing pole only over a mistake in the final corners...with a Jaguar! - and valiantly battling in the race to finish P6 definitely made everybody forget about Justin, who was almost two seconds off the Australian’s pace, had another poor start and his anonymous race ended by an engine failure. Monza spat Webber back into the mid-grid, but that probably wasn’t making Wilson any happier as he still was 0.7 seconds off the Australian and then proceeded to fail to even move his car at the start as the first gear was cranking up.

Come Indianapolis, and Justin’s hands were full all weekend with the ill-handling car. Firmly stuck on the lowly P16 in the grid, prospects weren’t that good for the race either - but rain was to decide otherwise. First fooling some drivers onto wets during the early light shower, it soon went away. High-pressure championship fight up the grid made the title contestants make the same decision when light rain started to fall during the first round of pitstops, as they chose to stay on the dry tyres. Then rain suddenly got heavier. That was good news for the top three, those yet to pit: Webber, Button and Wilson!

As Button and Wilson (and most of the others too) now opted for wet tyres, they were able to rejoin in the lead as Webber had spun off with his dry tyres. Wilson soon had to forget about the podium, though, as he was already struggling with the car couldn’t get his Michelin’s working properly in the wet conditions and started falling backwards in the standings. Wilson held it on the track, though, and when da Matta got a penalty for his pitlane speeding it was enough for Justin to score his first World Championship point, finishing eighth, two laps down. Behind them the only finishing cars were the poor Minardis, of whom Justin’s replacement Nicolas Kiesa was consistent and reliable but was well slower than Verstappen and never would even realistically tease any of the other cars.

Japanese GP, despite a decent qualifying - Webber 6th, Wilson 10th was less than impressive for the Jaguar boys again as the overnight rain had cleared the track and changed the cars’ handling, and the only thing Wilson seen on the broadcast was his role as one of the slow guys Michael Schumacher rushed through during his hunt for the title. A finish featuring Mark on 13th and Justin on 15th left the team with some things to consider for 2004, especially given that them big guys at Ford had increasingly started to question whether it was smart to spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to see the green cars finish behind Saubers.

AFTER FORMULA ONE

“Justin’s speed, focus and experience are exemplary and our decision to put Christian Klien in the race car in no way reflects upon Justin’s clear ability as a competitive racing driver”. It rather reflects upon the Red Bull sticker now prominent on the Jaguar cars, one could have added to Jaguar’s Dave Brailsford… Anyway, after struggling to adapt to the Jaguar Wilson’s stock had decreased since mid-season, and the only interest he attracted was by the backmarkers - Jordan and Stoddart’s Minardi, who stated they would welcome the Englishman back with open arms. But, as Justin now came without cash at all, neither contract did materialize - and Wilson’s career in F1 was effectively over, which forced him to re-set his sights. As the opportunities were few, Wilson took the offer to race in the 12 Hours of Sebring again in a LMP1 class Lola, partnering Milka Duno and Phil Andrews. Wilson took the car from 15th to 7th on the first lap, had a strong race and the team challenged for 5th overall before the gearbox broke.

Just five days after Sebring, partly for former Nordic Racing boss Chris Mower’s involvement in the Conquest Racing team, it was announced that Wilson had signed to drive their Mi-Jack funded machine in the 2004 Champ Car World Series. The series, formerly known as the CART championship had depleted as Reynard was bankrupt and the Japanese engine suppliers, most of the top teams and oval tracks had bailed over to Indy Racing League - effectively leaving Champ Car a spec series with usually less than 20 entries per race. Champ Car was pumping its wounded driver pool with the insurgency of many former top F3000 drivers: Justin and his new team-mate Alex Sperafico just some of the examples.

Despite everything, Champ Car was no series to pick noses at; the Lola-Fords were still mean and Conquest Racing weren’t exactly the team to have in 2004. After just little testing before the first weekend at Long Beach, Wilson fared professionally anyway: 11th in qualifying was followed by a solid if uneventful race day to finish sixth. Monterrey was even better: qualifying third, Wilson temporarily looked like he himself responsible was dragging the team to the fight between the big Newman/Haas and Forsythe teams, what with team-mate Sperafico seconds off his pace! In the race, tyre problems in the Mexican heat and an unsuitable strategy dropped Justin to another P6 finish - a decent result regardless. Then Milwaukee would introduce Wilson to ovals, and was quick to give him a lesson: Wilson span in the first turn, lost his front wing and finished six lap down on P11 - so much for turning left being easy.

Justin was quickly off to Europe to partake in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, having clinched another late deal - Racing for Holland had signed Wilson, Ralph Firman and Tom Coronel for their second Dome-Judd entry in the event. The trio was even predicted to hold an outside chance for the overall victory, as the LMP1 class was devoid of manufacturer teams at the time. The team faced technical problems in qualifying, but started the race well and could challenge the privateer Audi R8’s, the Dutch squad finding themselves as high as P2 a couple of hours the race. Guess what happened then? Indeed, gearbox problems struck. Then they struck again, and again, and the Dome spent hours in the garage being repaired - eventually the car switched to neutral in Firman’s hands and subsequently found the wall. Still, Justin was again able to prove his sheer pace in sportscars by setting the fifth fastest lap in his (so far) only running in the Greatest Race of them all.

Back to Champ Car, tracks featuring right turns were evidently better places for Justin as he scored a decent fifth place in Portland. The bumpy Cleveland airport track saw Wilson qualify on the front row alongside Paul Tracy, who took a wide line to the entry of the first corner, and Wilson sweepingly swerved inside - totally neglecting the bunch of other cars already entering the corner. In the end, Wilson had to be lucky he only took himself out. The Toronto native Tracy was the theme of Justin’s Toronto race as well, as Wilson had passed him in the pits and was about to start chasing the leader Sébastien Bourdais, just to get spun out by the bulky Forsythe driver.

That was only the beginning, though. Electronics failure at Vancouver, suspension problems at Road America, brake problems at Denver and gearbox failure at Montreal all stole good finishes from Justin - but it was Laguna Seca that was the flat bottom. Rodolfo Lavín took Wilson out on the first lap in Corkscrew. A slight upturn of fortunes was the Las Vegas oval where Wilson fared better than at Milwaukee oval debut, racing competitively and finishing 8th, and the season ended on a higher note with a P8 at Surfers Paradise and a strong fourth place from third on the grid at Mexico City. Overall, Wilson’s unlucky season was seriously undersold by his total of no podiums and the 11th in final standings - qualifying in top ten in all but four races, running in top five in most races and out-qualifying the hopeless Sperafico and his replacement Nelson Philippe everywhere but in Las Vegas.

Such was Wilson’s impressiveness that Carl Russo signed the Briton for his RuSPORT car for 2005. Albeit only entering its sophomore season, this was clearly going to be a step forward from Conquest Racing - also a 2004 debutant, A.J. Allmendinger finished 6th overall with RuSPORT equipment and beat his new team-mate Wilson to the Rookie of the Year honours. The duo spent the winter topping the time-sheets, and hopes were high for the season. However consistently and well it started, though, Wilson wasn’t quite able to get everything together at any of the first races - after opening the season by finishing 4th three times in a row it certainly seemed like some higher power was keeping Justin off the Champ Car podium. At Portland the RuSPORT boys were flying, with Justin taking his first Champ Car pole ahead of Allmendinger, and sprinting off to dominate the race - until his fuel pump broke.

After a mellow 7th in Cleveland it was time to return to Toronto. A race initially dominated by the rivals Bourdais and Tracy turned around when they clashed coming off the pits, Wilson suddenly found himself on P3 with fresh tires, light fuel load and 28 laps to go. A quick pass on Tagliani was followed by a perfectly timed lunge on the inside of Oriol Servià in turn 3 on lap 77, a great move that caught the team principal Russo by surprise as he was in the middle of an interview for the broadcast. The thrilled team boss then emotionally sprouted out “That’s Justin….Justin and A.J., the best in the world baby!” right on the broadcast!

A.J. subsequently put it into the wall from P3, causing a caution and also effectively ensuring Justin’s (and RuSPORT’s) maiden premier level victory in motor racing. It also seemed like Wilson had now crept into the title hunt, with Bourdais at 150 points, Tracy at 135 and Wilson at 128 when the season had started to approach its halfway point. Next race at Edmonton, the RuSPORT pair dominated the weekend again with an Allmendinger - Wilson one-two in qualifying, and it must have looked good for Russo entering the final restart with nine laps to go: the “best in the world” were one-two. Within a space of two minutes Justin dropped back by spinning under yellow, and A.J. put it into the wall from the lead to allow Bourdais an easy win and a leap front in the championship. Justin was fast enough to literally barge his way almost back to the podium, but ran out of laps to do so - he was lucky to avoid a penalty for punting off Timo Glock, but that must have been of little consolation.

Bourdais furthered his lead in the title fight by winning both San José and Denver, whereas Wilson’s results were 4th and another start accident. Wilson had a strong race in Montreal to his second Champ Car podium and third place, but was anonymous at the Las Vegas oval and had a tangle with a backmarker at Surfers Paradise, dropping to 7th from a podium position. At the final race at Mexico City, RuSPORT discovered their lost commanding speed with Wilson and Allmendinger 1-2 in both qualifying and race, and the only thing preventing Wilson from scoring a perfect grand slam were the four laps he did not lead. This dominant victory helped Wilson finish 3rd in the final standings, losing out to Bourdais and Servià whose end-of-season streak had been mighty consistent, but beating Tracy who kept his habit of wrecking it from high positions - Allmendinger failed to win a race and was 5th.

The RuSPORT pair, also friends off-track, then teamed up for the 2006 24 Hours of Daytona, joining Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson in the Rolex Sportscar series event in their Michael Shank Racing Riley-Lexus. They had a consistent race, finishing runner-ups - again proving Wilson’s worth in sportscars. For the 2006 Champ Car season, both Allmendinger and Wilson again looked title contenders - Wilson now sporting permanent sponsorship from a 2005 part-time sponsor CDW. Other contenders were considered Tracy and Mario Domínguez driving for Forsythe, and Junqueira, now making his return to Newman/Haas after an injury.

Bourdais in his McDonald’s-sponsored Newman/Haas car didn’t really seem to care about any of that speculation, and chose to dominate the first four races: the Frenchman took all wins, all fastest laps and three of the four pole positions. Wilson was challenging him on paper by finishing 2-5-2-2, but was overshadowed by Bourdais’ superiority. Before Portland, in what was an odd move, RuSPORT suddenly fired Allmendinger - who had had his dose of unluck in the first races - replacing with Cristiano da Matta, and Forsythe subsequently fired Domínguez to replace him with Allmendinger. Consequently, Allmendinger became the new steam roller and taking the three following victories, and Bourdais suddenly looked human: it quickly developed into a three horse race between the consistent Wilson and the aforementioned steam rollers. Wilson was 2nd at Portland, had a suspension failure in Cleveland from a strong position and finished 4th in Toronto after scoring a pole, suffering from handling issues. Bourdais was still leading with 191 points, but Allmendinger and Wilson looked challenging with 168 and 165 respectively, as the series headed to Edmonton. Wilson started from fourth behind both of his title rivals, but passed Allmendinger during the pits and made a clean pass on Bourdais, leading to his third Champ Car victory at a vital stage of his season.

Then it was time for Justin’s now-traditional slump in form: bad qualifying made it difficult at San José and he had to fight his way to 3rd; tyre problems at Denver, 8th; Wall of Champions meeting at Montreal; 5th at Road America. Meanwhile, Bourdais kept scoring high points and basically now had the title in his hands, so it wasn’t such a shame that Wilson had to miss the Surfers Paradise round due to a wrist injury in free practise. The final round at Mexico City was a strong ground for Justin, where he again put it on pole. Maybe only honour was at stake, but it still turned into a grand battle between the Briton and the Frenchman, the duo trading the lead multiple times in the majorly caution-free race: the track got a shower late in the race, and “Seabass” splash-and-dashed it to rejoin the track behind Wilson, who had started struggling with his wrist still sore from the Surfers crash. Soon, he caught Wilson: the first move, around the outside in the damp Peraltada (yes, you read that right) didn’t work, so Bourdais had to figure another way to pass the Englishman, who was making his car as wide as possible and had a power to pass advantage. Braking into the hairpin before the esses for the final time, Bourdais flung his car in there from almost a Zanardi-esque position - and despite pieces flying, it worked! Justin finished second to Sébastien, both in the championship and on the track, but it certainly did fuel up the rivalry between the two further.

At the end of 2006 Wilson got married with his wife Julia, but it was a worse time on the sporting side. Russo had to step down from his involvement with the team, concentrating on his businesses - RuSPORT was sold to Dan Pettit, and the team merged its remainings with the backpack runners Rocketsports Racing to become RSPORTS and pair up with Alex Tagliani. That, combined with the new Panoz DP01 chassis the series had adopted, meant that it was more of a difficult start of the season for Wilson than expected - before Portland Wilson only got the whole puzzle together at Long Beach for 4th position, and his title hunt was symbolically over before it began as Bourdais again beat the pole-sitter Wilson in a straight battle at another of Wilson’s favourite grounds at Portland. A chance for victory appeared at the wet Mont-Tremblant but Wilson couldn’t capitalize, and despite front row positions and podiums at Toronto and Edmonton, he really challenged for win in neither. At San José, Justin didn’t really even get to try despite his pole since Dan Clarke rammed into him in the early laps, and the following couple of races were just mediocre.

Assen was different. Second in qualifying, Wilson took the lead in first corner and never looked like losing it. The win, coupled with narrowly getting beaten to win by the fuel management master Bourdais at Surfers Paradise at least allowed Wilson to take a shot on another second place in the championship behind Frenchman. Target was reached despite Justin’s unusually unimpressive showing at Mexico City, as Doornbos’ car broke, leaving Wilson to celebrate a 2nd place even after enduring a difficult season in a team that had lost its top team status: team-mate Tagliani didn’t reach podium all season. For 2008 there was a gap to fill in the Champ Car series, as Bourdais had been drafted by Toro Rosso to race in Formula One - and Newman/Haas saw Wilson the right fit into the #1 McDonald’s car, to partner the young Graham Rahal and to have a shot at the fifth title in a row for the team.

Whilst returning to 24 Hours of Daytona for Michael Shank Racing in January, where they finished 6th after Justin damaged the car in a spin in the infield, little did Wilson know that politics were about to shake things around in American Open Wheel. Just before 2008 the Champ Car and Indy Racing League finally merged, giving a major advantage to the former IRL teams as the series went with most of IRL’s schedule featuring mostly ovals and its Dallara-Hondas. This meant that Justin was left unable to demonstrate his skills in real top team equipment - apart from one last race where the old Panoz cars were used, at Long Beach where he took the pole and dominated the race until his engine expired. For the rest of the races, similar all the other Champ Car refugees, Wilson was back having to fight the better prepared IRL cars: especially the ovals were a struggle, on them Wilson found himself dabbling around in the 20’s more often than not, and never finishing better than seventh. Indianapolis didn’t give a warm introduction either, as Wilson’s debut ended in a solo spin on lap 132 from a lowly position.

The couple of road courses on the schedule were a whole different story, and even if Wilson couldn’t capitalize on grid positions 3 (St. Petersburg), 2 (Watkins Glen) and 4 (Mid-Ohio, where Justin dominated the race on the drying track but got screwed by caution timings), he could at least remind the world of his existence on them. A yellow-filled race at the familiar Edmonton airport track then finally offered Wilson to sneak a 3rd place, and finally in the last road course race, Detroit, a questionable blocking penalty to Hélio Castroneves gave Wilson his sole win of the year - one of only two in total for the former Champ Car teams (Rahal’s St. Petersburg win being the first). In the final standings Wilson was only 11th, but was nevertheless the second-best Champ Car refugee - beaten only by Oriol Servià, 9th.

McDonald’s thought about none of that when they downscaled sponsorship for 2009. Carl Haas looked at his drivers, saw more potential in Graham Rahal and voilà, Wilson found himself without a ride. No worries - Dale Coyne to the rescue! A specialist of surviving in IndyCar racing with minimum budget - and also an ex-Champ Car team - Coyne had fielded cars for a staggering 25 years without scoring a single win. For 2009, Wilson was to be his only full-season entry, whom he funded from his own pocket. Wilson appeared confident at St. Petersburg, anyway, predicting a pole was possible for his low key team - he must have got a couple of sneers from the wealthy IRL powerhouses, you could suppose - and they were right: Wilson didn’t put it on pole, only on the 2nd place alongside Rahal. To add to their amusement, on the race day the lofty Briton spent most of the race in the lead - only 14 laps before the end Briscoe, driving for the mighty Penske, was the later of the brakers and passed the Dale Coyne Racing driver for the win. Still, Justin was extremely happy about the result.

For this performance, Coyne and Wilson would obtain new sponsorship from Z-Line Designs: however, he was initially unable to celebrate it properly, crashing out at Long Beach and then not being able to up his game on the streak of six ovals that was to follow. This time Indy 500 finally got Wilson after 160 laps, Turn 1 being the exact location after an earlier spin in the pitlane.

The story about Cinderella is nice and all, but nothing compared to what happened at the Watkins Glen International on July 5 2009. That was the day when starting from second position, a lanky Briton hounded the leader Briscoe for the first laps to execute a pass on him on the back stretch, in a sweet revenge of what happened in St. Petersburg. That was the day when Dale Coyne Racing driver looked unmatchable. That was the day when in an utter display of untouched dominance, Justin Wilson led 49 of the 56 laps to take the maiden victory in the Grand Prix of Watkins Glen. During a season when 16 of the 17 of the big trophies went to Penske and Ganassi, it was Dale Coyne - a man who had not gotten a single trophy for his work in his first 496 starts - who got the remaining one. “It took too long”, the Illinois man remarked after an emotional celebration. If providing this didn’t knightify Wilson, what would?

The rest of the season followed the familiar note: strong performances on road courses - Wilson led a number of laps at Mid-Ohio - but little to tell after the races except for a 5th at Toronto - and anonymous on the oval courses, although slight improvement was seen towards the end of the season even on those. 9th in final standings must have been better than what most dared to expect of the pairing. Then, in a typical Dale Coyne fashion, he chose to start the 2010 season with pay-drivers, leaving Wilson rideless again. Chip Ganassi soon hired him - but only for the 24 Hours of Daytona, where Justin’s Riley-BMW finished 2nd, him driving alongside Max Papis, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.

It took as long as to February for Wilson to clinch a deal - now with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, another low key outfit, where Wilson also brought Z-Line as his sponsor; the other car would be rotating pay drivers. It didn’t hinder Wilson’s optimism, though: “I believe that we will be very competitive and my aim is to win the championship; I know that may seem steep but I feel that we have a very good chance and I’m ready to win some races”. Granted, there had been an introduction of more and more road course races - but with the team’s overall record (only ever won a single race) and Wilson’s less than impressive Dallara-Honda record on ovals, of which there still were eight in the schedule - the aim DID seem “steep”.

As expected, Wilson had a strong start to the season on the first four road courses, qualifying in top four three times, and clinching two second places - and as expected, Wilson was well back down in the midpack at Kansas. Wilson’s Month of May was then better than expected - he even led towards the final stages of the race (albeit that was due to gambling on cautions and staying on track when others pitted) and the Briton eventually had to pit to finish a respectable 7th in his third Indy 500, but once again he couldn’t find speed on the rest of the ovals. When even the rest of the road courses failed to produce anything significant from the races - even if Wilson did snatch a pole in Toronto - his season resulted in a lowly 11th place in the standings.

For 2011 Wilson kept racing for Dreyer & Reinbold, and it was the same old story. During his time in America, Wilson had sort of turned into more of a qualifying specialist rather than the race charger he used to be in the early stages of his career: four top six positions on the first four road courses of the IndyCar season, but no top six finishes. Oval mediocrity continued, Indy 500 performance was not stellar either, and the best result of his season was only a 5th at Edmonton: a season to forget for Justin ended early when he broke a vertebra in his back during Mid-Ohio practise, having spun out in the high-speed turn 1. He didn’t have to get an operation, but the injury still meant he would miss the rest of the season - thus Wilson was a spectator at the fateful race in Las Vegas, the one where Justin’s former karting rival Dan Wheldon lost his life in a massive pile-up. The night before the race, Dan had told Wilson that he was “lucky” not to be racing that day.

Wilson returned to the wheel after a break of six months in time for the practise to the 24 Hours of Daytona - again, as in 2011 when the squad finished 7th, driving for Michael Shank Racing - this time co-driving with A.J. Allmendinger, Oswaldo Negri and John Pew. The squad spent the race battling with another Riley-Ford Daytona Prototype entered by Starworks Motorsport, gained the lead when the opponents hit trouble just few hours before the end and didn’t let go despite intense pressure delivered by Ryan Dalziel on Allmendinger during the final laps. Eventually, the margin of victory was only some odd six seconds after 24 hours!

For 2012, IndyCar had finally ditched the old Dallara IR05 chassis and provided new DW12’s instead. In addition to that, two new engine suppliers in Lotus and Chevrolet were introduced. As the development of the Lotus engine seemed unclear, Wilson chose to play it safe and chose to return to Dale Coyne Racing, who had signed with Honda - as opposed to Dreyer & Reinbold’s Lotus engines. Wilson would also get to reunite with Bill Pappas, the engineer partnered with whom they achieved the 2009 upsets. Upon the start of the season, it was evident that Wilson had made the right choice, even though Coyne had some teething problems with getting used to the road course setups in the early road course races - the few Lotus engines that arrived were rubbish. At Long Beach Wilson had a stronger run, leading some laps, and at Indianapolis Wilson a very strong run by his standards, being in top 10 most of the race and finishing 7th. Still, Justin had little to show in the form of actual results when the series arrived in the 1.5 mile oval at Texas, which (discounting Indy) was the first oval on the DW12’s and also a place notorious for awarding talent rather than luck.

An attrition-ridded race saw Justin creep up his way from initially low positions, keeping care of his tires and eventually loomed behind the race leader Rahal as the race was approaching the end. Three laps to go, fighting the shot tyres Rahal went up on the marbles and had a minor touch with the wall which allowed Wilson to shoot past to a wholly unexpected oval victory, totally proving the doubters of his oval skills completely wrong! Those who had followed him earlier would have noticed that he had become a credible driver in the few oval races Champ Car had - but that was a different type of racing compared to the often pack style racing that was typical of the IR05’s that Wilson never really seemed to get familiar with - and the weak teams Wilson drove for can’t have helped to make people see past his oval difficulties. Granted, there were irregularities discovered in Wilson’s car in the post-race inspection, but no performance advantage was deemed to have been gained and the Coyne driver only got a minor fine.

The rest of the season was again a struggle with no better finishes than 9th, his only highlight being a P3 in Toronto qualifying, but Coyne was happy to keep Wilson for 2013 anyway. That season saw a consistent if unspectacular start for Wilson - a 3rd at Long Beach and a strong 5th at Indy being Wilson’s strongest drives - but the first race in Detroit, though, must have been the particular highlight for Coyne as Mike Conway in the other car took the victory and Justin finished 3rd!

Wilson then entered a weaker patch, dropping him out of championship contention that was still wide open between multiple drivers, but a good streak of 2-4-3-4 finishes late in the season on road courses leaped Wilson up to 6th in final standings, completely unprecented for a Dale Coyne driver. Slightly annoyed that Coyne, despite this success with low budget, wasn’t ready to spend extra to take the final step towards the top, Wilson spent the off-season looking for better rides, but at the end lost out to most rides and had to humble up to have another Coyne season: it would be one to forget, as despite some fine drives - such as Long Beach where he got taken out from the lead - he didn’t even score a single podium, whereas team-mate Huertas lucked into one at Houston, and only finished 15th in the standings. 2015 off season then saw rumours fly about Wilson being permanently fed up with Coyne’s operation, but as the rumoured Andretti and KV rides didn’t materialize this time either, Coyne remained Justin’s only choice: it was only at the opener at St. Pete that it became clear that Wilson wasn’t there: he didn’t have an open wheel ride to open the season with, for the first time in an open wheel career spanning over 20 years.

Andretti then gave Wilson a part-time ride for both Indy races and later the last five ri, but again there were problems: Honda was off Chevy’s pace, and this wasn’t exactly the top tier effort Wilson was looking forward to, either. Perhaps having also grown a bit past his open-wheel peak, Justin had turned his sights to other categories, still racing Shank’s prototypes part-time (albeit with less success), but also doing other stuff: Andretti entered Wilson for the Moscow round of the inaugural Formula E season, and the Briton instantly scored a point for 10th place; he also took part in the Aussie V8 Supercars invitational race at Surfers Paradise in 2012 - and as perhaps the most curious experiment, good relations with Honda also allowed them to hire the tall, 191cm in height, Englishman to enter the 2015 Pikes Peak hill climb event with a LMP2 car! Sadly, mechanical woes before the race proper didn’t actually allow one of the more versatile racing drivers to add yet another racing category to his CV…

Outside racing, Wilson currently lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters, and spends some of his time to promote awareness about dyslexia, something Justin himself suffered from as a kid. Justin's younger brother Stefan is also a racing driver, who has one IndyCar start from 2013 - for Dale Coyne no less, as Justin's team-mate. Oh, and well, how about the shares some 900 people bought back in 2003? Well, the shareholders club kept - but apparently the shares quietly expired in 2012, 10 years after the scheme, and no money was returned, leaving a couple of the shareholders bitter and threatening with lawsuits...but to be fair to Wilson and Palmer who was in charge, most of them probably never expected any returns to begin with: they just wanted to support the Englishman to make his Formula One dream come true despite his notable handicaps, and showing people that one can still make a long open wheel racing career out of little money, and sheer skills and determination.

when you're dead people start listening
by giraurd 25 Aug 2015, 08:23
Some of my favorite video clips

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JtCkuAj9tc - some absolutely fantastic footage from a karting race from Justin's youth. I can't even imagine how Jenson feels right now..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoFlWy7ay8Q - Justin's third F3000 race, at Catalunya - his name wasn't forgotten after that
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tPcdzCL9aI - first F3000 victory, 2001
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26msQwNK6BU - F1 onboard, Minardi 2003
https://youtu.be/GX1m9ebAH0E?t=1h29m55s - first Champ Car victory, 2005
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJrQXqTS2-s - an absolutely brilliant scrap between Wilson and Bourdais from 2006
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvObnDflW7A - Dale Coyne Racing's maiden victory after 25 years, courtesy of JW in 2009. Watkins Glen. Legendary stuff.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foyNlZuHZgY - first oval victory after years of difficulties, Texas 2012

when you're dead people start listening
by Bobby Doorknobs 25 Aug 2015, 14:23
That was great stuff, giraurd. It looks like you put a lot of work into it and the result is definitely worthy of being on the site :)
by shinji 25 Aug 2015, 15:07
Nice work man, tragic outcome this morning but very well done on the piece.

Better than 'Tour in a suit case' Takagi.
by Miguel98 25 Aug 2015, 15:18
That was a very fine read there mate! A great article, which shows the great skill of driving that Justin had, and the massive determination he had. I mean, not many drivers would do things with a Dale Coyne team.

Mario on Gutierrez after the Italian Grand Prix wrote:He's no longer just a bit of a tool, he's the entire tool set.


18-07-2015: Forever in our hearts Jules.
25-08-2015: Forever in our hearts Justin.
by dr-baker 25 Aug 2015, 16:57
I would be happy to see this article on the website, although given the circumstances, it would be more of a "Reject Centrale" article than a reject profile now.

watka wrote:I find it amusing that whilst you're one of the more openly Christian guys here, you are still first and foremost associated with an eye for the ladies!
dinizintheoven wrote:GOOD CHRISTIANS do not go to jail. EVERYONE ON FORMULA ONE REJECTS should be in jail.
MCard LOLA
by Meatwad 25 Aug 2015, 22:51
Rest in peace, Justin. :(

Sadly, I didn't follow his career much, but based on what I know, he really deserved a better chance in F1.
by CoopsII 26 Aug 2015, 14:21
Not much to add. I still can't quite take it in. Quite often when I saw Webber getting his fantastic results in F1 I'd think to myself "Yes, but Justin Wilson beat you in F3000 fair dinkum you little bludger" (or something like that).

So unlucky.

(I'm leaving my avatar as Jules for the time being purely because as the younger of the two his passing is fractionally more tragic, not out of preference.)

Just For One Day...
by FullMetalJack 26 Aug 2015, 16:55
An excellent read Giraurd, clearly a lot of time and effort has gone into this. Great job.

CoopsII wrote:(I'm leaving my avatar as Jules for the time being purely because as the younger of the two his passing is fractionally more tragic, not out of preference.)


That's completely fair, we don't want to imply that Jules hasn't been forgotten in the wake of the latest tragedy.

To put it in the nicest and most sensitive way possible, you could say that the only upside (if you can even call it an upside) compared to what happened with Jules, is that Justin's family was not left waiting and wondering for several months.

I like the way Snrub thinks!
by pasta_maldonado 26 Aug 2015, 19:00
Echoeing what others said, Justin was also in my opinion a very unlucky driver. I was far too young to have any well developed thoughts on him when he competed in Formula One, but I've always hoped he'd do well in Champcars and IndyCars. Hearing the news that he died, and so shortly after Jules, is absolutely tragic news. Even more tragic considering we've lost Henry Surtees, Dan Wheldon and Maria de Villota in addition since 2009, and the horrific injury Michael Schumacher suffered whilst skiing.

Klon wrote:more liek Nick Ass-idy amirite?
by MartinJS81 20 Sep 2015, 22:10
Great article, well written and with nice details and the right level of enthusiasm for the subject. So sad that he didn't recover. With this and the Joe Kelly profile elsewhere, perhaps this site is in good hands.

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