October 17th, 2011, 21:29 PM
Dan Wheldon hailed as a 'true champion' by his family
Dan Wheldon's family have described him as a "true champion" and a "gentleman on and off the track" after the British IndyCar driver died in a 15-car crash.
Wheldon, 33, was airlifted to hospital after Sunday's horrific accident on lap 13 of the Las Vegas Indy 300 but died of his injuries.
His father Clive 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."
Wheldon's father was speaking alongside the driver's brothers Austen, 26, and Ashley, 30.
He added: "He was a true champion and a gentleman on and off the track. Words cannot describe how much our family will miss him.
"He touched so many and the world is a better place because of Dan.
"He was a proud brother to Austen, Ashley, Elliott and Holly.
"He was a devoted son to Sue and myself and a loving husband to his wife."
There were a number of concerns about track safety before the race began, with Formula 1 legend Jody Scheckter revealing that he has long wanted his son Tomas - who was also involved in the collision - to quit the sport.
A total of 34 runners started the season-ending race - one more than competed at the Indianapolis 500 which Wheldon won earlier this season - and Briton Mark Blundell, who was at the circuit, believes that was too many.
"IndyCar racing is dangerous," he told the BBC. "The difference [between IndyCar and Formula 1] is that you are running four cars wide, only inches apart from each other doing 220mph.
"When there is a problem, it normally turns out to be a big problem because a small error can be quite costly.
"That's what you saw today - 15 cars out in one go and unfortunately the loss of Dan Wheldon, a guy who was a huge talent.
"He never quite got to the upper echelons of Formula 1 but was very well-known and very well-respected.
"He was a very accomplished driver who still had a huge career in front of him. It's big loss to British motorsport."
Full story: BBC Sport