We wish James Hinchcliffe a happy 28th birthday today, as the Oakville, Ontario native who joins Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series has been in the news a lot recently.
To recap what he’s already done this offseason, he presided over Charlie Kimball’s wedding, he announced his switch to SPM, expanded on what it will mean to be SPM team leader, raced with a bunch of media folks on a beer bar/bicycle and talked a lot about his own brew, Hinchtown Hammer Down, from Flat 12 Bierworks.
Oh, and he’s also taken electronic dance music (EDM) superstar Deadmau5 in a two-seater ride at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then raced him in a similar Honda Fit.
But that merely serves as the preamble for more news he’s been making in Indianapolis recently.
THE MAYOR’S A HOMEOWNER
Hinchcliffe told me during the IndyCar postseason celebration in Los Angeles he was expecting to buy a house this offseason – this was before we knew whether he’d stay with Andretti Autosport or make the move to SPM.
He can check that box off the list. Earlier this week he moved into a new house, and posted a pic to Instagram. That’s below.
HE’S PLAYING SANTA AND VISITING THE RILEY HOSPITAL FOR KIDS
Hinchcliffe recently helped the Heroes Foundation’s Team JOEY Program deliver LEGOs to children fighting cancer at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Video from IndyCar is below, too.
HIS BREW HAS MADE NATIONAL MAGAZINES
HE WANTS MORE CANADIAN RACES
While embarking on a heavy traveling run, hitting Chicago, Calgary and Fort John, B.C. among other places – while supporting his new team co-owner and countryman Ric Peterson’s Oculus trucking company – Hinchcliffe made the plea for additional Canadian races on future IndyCar schedules.
Since Edmonton left the calendar after 2012, a doubleheader in Exhibition Place in Toronto has served as the lone Canadian stop on the schedule. Over the last 20 years, Edmonton, Montreal, Mont-Tremblant, and Vancouver have also served as homes for North American open-wheel races besides Toronto.
“The next thing for us to try to get a race (in Calgary),” Hinchcliffe told the Toronto Sun’s Dean McNulty. “That would mean a lot to everybody on the team.
“I am 100% in on getting Calgary an IndyCar race. In fact, I think we should have three races in Canada and I feel a second one (in Calgary) is realistic. The level of passion for IndyCar racing in Canada has not decreased.”
HE’LL BE SADDLING UP AND TESTING SOON
Davide Valsecchi stole the headline as he announced his own participation in a December 16 test at Sebring with SPM, but that day will also mark Hinchcliffe’s first run with SPM. As yet, his engineer has not been publicly identified with Ben Bretzman departing for Team Penske with Simon Pagenaud.
Hinchcliffe said while he welcomes the Italian in his first ever IndyCar test, he’ll have to focus on his own program first.
“In all honesty, in that scenario, since nothing is signed for who that teammate is going to be and with me coming in, I’m gonna have to be selfish,” Hinchcliffe said as nicely as possible during a recent interview with NBCSN IndyCar pit reporter Kevin Lee and the Indianapolis Star‘s Curt Cavin on Trackside, on 1070 AM The Fan in Indianapolis.
“I’ll have a lot to do to gel with my guys. I’ll help Davide out where I can, but it’s not a done deal. If he’s not the teammate, it could be time misspent. It’s shocking where we get to practice less and they took more days away form us. I’ll focus on my program until they nail down the second car.”