James Hinchcliffe - more commonly known as ‘Hinch’, ‘Hinchtown’ and ‘The Mayor’ - returned to IndyCar racing at the start of 2016 following a near-fatal accident during practice for the previous May’s Indianapolis 500. 12 months on and you might have forgiven the Canadian for taking it easy on his return to the Brickyard. But not Hinch, who duly secured pole position for the world famous race’s 100th running.
The four-time IndyCar Series race winner has also competed in A1GP, but it was with Newman/Haas Racing that Hinchcliffe’s big IndyCar break came in 2011 when he finished 12th in the standings. Since then he has become one of the championship’s most recognisable faces, not least for his ‘Mayor of Hinchtown’ social media persona.
He took that a step further in 2016 when he followed in racing rival Helio Castroneves’ Foxtrotting footsteps by competing in Dancing with the Stars. The 30-year-old couldn’t quite match the Brazilian’s Season 5 victory, but finishing as runner-up was still a fantastic achievement.
Hinch made his Race Of Champions debut in Miami, and also partnered ROC Factor North America winner Stefan Rzadzinski in the ROC Nations Cup.
2016 Indy 500 pole winner
2011 IndyCar Rookie of the Year
2010 Indy Lights runner-up
2004 Formula BMW USA runner-up
Years contested: 2017 (1)
2017 Hinch captained Team ROC Factor Canada in Miami's ROC Nations Cup competition. His team-mate, the largely unknown racing driver Stefan Rzadzinski, was chosen through a social media poll in the lead up to the event.