Racing through downtown Indianapolis on a HandleBar, flying around the iconic Yard of Bricks with a famed Canadian music producer in tow, twisting & turning on the Rolex 24 course at Daytona International Speedway, gracing the pages of Esquire magazine, riding on a Mardi Gras float and securing sponsorship from a Fortune 150 company that is recognized worldwide for their technological solutions… it’s all in an off-season’s work for James Hinchcliffe.
The Mayor of Hinchtown, as his fan following so affectionately refers to him, is not only one of the funniest guys you’ll meet while roaming the IndyCar paddock, but he’s one of the smartest when it comes to business & marketing. He always has his face out there, he recognizes the value of social media and thrives within it, having over 56,000 followers on Twitter, and his charisma will reel you in whether you’re already a fan or you just happen to be scrolling through the IndyCar YouTube page and finding one of the many promo videos he’s made over the past few seasons.
Hinchcliffe has managed to find the balance between laid-back guy, life of the party and business-mind, all with a self-deprecating nature. This is not an easy mix to manage but somehow he does it with a smirk on his face and twinkle in his eye that can put a room at ease while also demanding respect and even envy. It’s no surprise that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports had their eye on him for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Hinchcliffe won three races in the 2013 season & placed in the Top 10 eight times both in 2012 and 2014, all while driving for Andretti Autosport.
Once the papers were signed with SPM and the announcement of his team change was ready to go public, Hinchcliffe decided a regular press conference simply wouldn’t do. So we all gathered at Flat 12 Bierworks, the home of his self-titled brew – Hinchtown Hammerdown, to hear the official word. Then in true Hinch fashion, we jumped on HandleBar Pedal Pubs and raced the professional soccer players from Indy Eleven to the Pacers Game at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. #TeamHinchtown won & we celebrated outside the arena with chips & guacamole care of Bakersfield.
A week or so later, Hinchcliffe was looking for a bit more speed than the HandleBar could provide him, so he headed to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and met up with Canadian music producer and house DJ, Deadmau5 for a few laps around the famous oval… and he was just along for the ride, because Hinch wasn’t holding anything back!
Since the new year hit, Hinchcliffe has been busy on track with the Mazda Skyactive team for the Rolex 24 at DIS, as well as IndyCar testing at Sebring & NOLA Motorsports Park. He spent some extra time “down in the bayou”, with fellow series drivers Josef Newgarden, Sage Karam & Carlos Munoz as well as MRTI drivers Neil Alberico & Aaron Telitz for Mardi Gras celebrations! The guys rode on a massive float in the Krewe of Bacchus parade. The IndyCar two-seater was also on hand and decked out in as much purple, green and gold as the livery could handle!
With the off-season winding down and the first race weekend only 3 weeks away, news about sponsorships and drivers has become more and more frequent. One of the most recent announcements was made last week when Arrow Electronics was revealed as the primary sponsor for James Hinchcliffe and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Hinch will now drive the No 5 Honda, in line with Arrow’s “Five Years Out” slogan. You may remember when Sam Schmidt, paralyzed back in 2000 during a horrible accident in practice, drove a modified Chevrolet Corvette on his own this past May at IMS. It was the first time he drove in 14 years and it was a true testament to the passion & talent of Schmidt as well as the incredible technological advancements by Arrow.
“Having Arrow Electronics as a primary team sponsor is just another step in this dream come true. The company’s vision is perfectly aligned with SPM and INDYCAR’s key focal points: speed, innovation and technology. We look forward to an exciting race season and a great partnership for years to come.” – Sam Schmidt, former IndyCar driver & current team owner
Sounds like a lot, huh? These are some of the highlights of the mayor’s past few months but it only scratches the surface – his spread in this month’s Esquire magazine with apparel manufacturer, Spyder Active has Will Smith on the cover. Smith stars in the current blockbuster, Focus, which features IndyCar and whose Indianapolis premiere was attended by, you guessed it, Hinchcliffe. The Canadian has also appeared on numerous morning talk shows, and attended multiple charity events & car shows… not to mention traveling across the globe to spend time with friends & family over the holidays. The man is truly everywhere. But when we hit the pavement in St. Pete’s in just 3 short weeks, I am pretty certain that there is only one place that Hinchcliffe will want to be… at the top of the podium.
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