Wheldon: Family Pay Tribute

18 October 2011, 11:42 | Updated: 18 October 2011, 11:46

The dad of racing driver Dan Wheldon - who grew up near Milton Keynes and who has died in a 220mph car crash in the US - has described him as a "true champion".

The 33 year old - who grew up at Emberton near Olney and went to Bedford School - suffered "unsurvivable injuries" in the crash on Sunday 16 October 2011.

In a statement outside the family home in Emberton on Monday 17 October, Clive Wheldon said "the family would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming outpouring of sympathy.

"Daniel was born to be a racer and left us doing what he loved to do.

"He was a true champion and a gentleman on and off the track."

Tributes have also come from across the world of motorsport, with 2008 Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton - from Stevenage - calling him an extremely talented driver.

He said "Dan was a racer I'd followed throughout my career, as I often followed in his footsteps as we climbed the motorsport ladder in the UK.

"He was an extremely talented driver. As a British guy, who not only went over to the States but who twice won the Indy 500, he was an inspirational guy, and someone that every racing driver looked up to with respect and admiration.''

Hamilton's McLaren team-mate and fellow former world champion Button paid tribute to Wheldon on Twitter. The pair were rivals on the track in the early stages of their careers.

Button wrote "I have so many good memories of racing with Dan in the early 90s, a true fighter. We've lost a legend in our sport but also a great guy."

Racing Driver Killed