10.23.2012 (Via tcimagazine.com) – After giving the shoulder straps one last pull to ensure they are tight, his crew member steps away from the car. That is when James Hinchcliffe closes his eyes for just a second, takes a deep breath and gets ready for another fierce ride.
The noise is intense, echoing off the walls just a few inches away, but he has to stay focused, keep his concentration on the pavement ahead. After all, at nearly 200 mph, a slight hesitation can mean the difference between life and death.
Things move at a barreling pace when you are on the road to the top as a professional IndyCar driver. “I am always on the move, always on the go,” explains Hinchcliffe, who races for iconic Andretti Autosports in the coveted #27 Go Daddy car.
Hinchcliffe spent more than a decade travelling the country, working his way up the race car ranks beginning with karting at the age of nine. He drove open wheel cars in several feeder series including Formula BMW USA, Star Mazda Series, Champ Car Atlantic Series, and the Firestone Indy Lights Series. But his life moved into overdrive when Newman/Haas offered him an IndyCar seat in April 2011.
“I constantly have people either telling me where I have to be, or asking me to go somewhere, or telling me to do something.” To get away from it all, the 2011 Rookie of the Year has to go deep.
“For me (diving) is the ultimate escape,” says the Canadian, a native of Oakville, Ontario.
SCUBA diving is a solace for the professional driver and Turks & Caicos is his go-to location. “It was love at first sight, the moment we stepped off the plane.”
It was fortuitous that the place his parents picked for the family vacation in 2008 was also one of the best dive sites in the world. After racing, diving is his greatest passion. “If racing had not worked out, I probably would have become a SCUBA diving instructor.”
It is not often his hectic schedule allows for time away, but when it does, you will likely find Hinchcliffe suiting up for an underwater adventure somewhere around the islands. “It is a complete other world. Down there nobody can talk to you, nobody can reach you. It is so peaceful.” While he is escaping the company of humans and ear-piercing noise, Hinchcliffe is comforted by the diverse ecosystem. “I love how much life is down there. “
The plenitude of dive sites is also a plus. In the four years he has been diving in the Turks & Caicos, he says he has only visited the same site twice.
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