Born Dec. 5, 1986/Oakville, Ontario
• After finishing top rookie in FBMW,
took third in Star Mazda in 2005.
• Spent three years in Atlantics, twice
finishing fourth in the title race.
• Two years in Indy Lights culminated
in championship runner-up in ’ 10.
• IndyCar debut with Newman/Haas in
2011 and won Rookie of the Year.
Scott R Le Page/LAT
Between 2006 and ’08, Hinchcliffe
made 20 starts for Team Canada in
the A1 Grand Prix series, with a best
result of second place at Brno.
As a proud Canadian,
Hinch is a huge fan of
the late Greg Moore,
and carried a pair of
Moore’s red gloves
with him when he
qualified second for
the 2012 Indy 500.
assessment of a setup – and we said,
“Thank God we have three teammates to
get data from otherwise we’d be screwed.”
Doing that by yourself, and having such
restricted track time…I think Josef and
his team are doing great.
And what’s your philosophy on how spec
the cars should be? Isn’t developing a car
part of what makes a great driver?
JH People talk about Indy car racing’s
heyday, but guys could win races by two
laps back then! If you appreciate what’s
happening, you’d enjoy the race. But the
modern sports fan is less inclined to tune
into something like that. In 1992, when
Scott Goodyear finished right behind Al
Unser Jr in the Indy 500, Michael [Andretti]
had been leading by a lap when his engine
blew with 12 to go. It was actually one of
the worst races in Indy history – freezing
cold, so a ton of crashes and full-course
cautions – yet it’s remembered as one of
the greats because the guy who should
have won blew up, and the guys in second
and third were running so close that it
became a race for the lead by default.
My point is, fans love close racing,
so we have to be careful in a technology-
reliant sport that we don’t go to, say,
Milwaukee and end up with just three
cars on the lead lap at the end.
JN I agree with all of that and I think
we’ve put on great racing this year. But
the other side is that IndyCar has to stay
relevant from engineering and technical
standpoints. Trying to get kids interested
in engineering through STEM is not going
to happen if there’s not enough of that
engineering ingenuity element. So there’s
got to be a balance. You still want fans to
go to a race knowing 15 or 20 cars could
win, but you must allow a technical side,
too, so it’s relevant to manufacturers,
where what they do makes a difference.
Hinch helped make Team Moore into
a strong Indy Lights team, and three
wins meant he took the 2010 title
battle down to the final round.
But are the fans drawn in most by a surprise
result or a great race? I’ve got a feeling that
if Josef dominated a race, people would
rejoice, and if there was a great duel between
Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, but they
totally dominated, they’d yell, “Boring!”
JH Well, you won’t see that because it’s
so open. Fans just like good racing. Five
years ago, there were only five cars
racing for a win. Now there are 15.
2011 IndyCar Rookie of the Year title
with Newman/Haas was also his first
year with Craig Hampson, who’s his
race engineer this season at AA.