IndyCar star James Hinchcliffe isn’t one of those drivers who has forgotten how he got to where he is today and all the people who helped him along the way.
“I see too many people through the history of this sport who took, took, took, and gave nothing back and I always promised myself I wouldn’t be that guy,” Hinchcliffe told The Globe and Mail of Toronto recently.
That’s why the Oakville, Ontario, Canada native, who just celebrated his 28th birthday last week, is happy to start seeing dividends from his Speed Group, which he co-founded earlier this year to help up-and-coming racers.
“I have a lot of interest in trying to nurture talent and help them avoid some of the mistakes that I made in my career, and the holes that you can get into in racing when you are new to the business side of it,” Hinchcliffe said.
“It’s a passion first and what’s so funny is that I tried to give advice away and guys would do the exact opposite of what I said, and now I charge them for it and they listen to every word I have to say. I guess it’s a get what you pay for thing.”
While being the first to admit the racing biz is not just “rainbows and cinnamon buns,” the Schmidt Peterson Motorsport pilot is attracting a number of aspiring drivers to the firm he co-founded with former Champ Car Atlantic teammate David Martinez and PR veteran Toni Calderon.
With a number of assistants and driving coaches, Speed Group focuses on driver development, brand development and management, dealing with the media, social media, website development and more.
Things started out small by design, but Hinchcliffe and his partners have already attracted several drivers racing in smaller series in North America and Europe.
Among those already on the current list of Speed Group clients: Jose Gutierrez, Juncos Racing, Ricardo Gonzalez, Luis “Chapulin” Diaz and Will Owen.
The company hopes to further expand its client base in 2015.
It would not be surprising if Hinchcliffe one day winds up racing against some of Speed Group’s clients one day in the IndyCar Series. He wants to help them make their mark, just like others helped him make his own mark in the racing world.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘legacy’ because it makes it sound like I think higher of myself than I do, but this is part of what I want to give back to the sport,” Hinchcliffe said.
Check out the following promotional video of Speed Group:
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