Justin Wilson sustained severe head injuries and is in a coma in critical condition after the Briton was struck by debris from another car during the closing laps of the penultimate race in the IndyCar Series on 23 August, officials have said.

The 37-year old former Formula One driver, a seven-times winner in IndyCar racing, was airlifted to hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania and will remain there for further evaluation, IndyCar officials added.

Wilson's car was apparently out of control after being hit by the debris and veered into the wall at the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. His Andretti Autosport team mate Ryan Hunter-Reay, went on to win the race.

"These Indycars are inherently pretty dangerous, you know with the open cockpit like that, it's one of the most dangerous forms of motorsports, we know we go out there everyday taking that risk with our head exposed, I hear that the nose cone hit him, a nose cone from (IndyCar racer) Sage Karam's car hit him in the head, so that's a big piece of of bodywork to hit somebody in the head. So thoughts and prayers are with him, he's one of my good friends, we're close with his family, he has two little daughters at home so I'm really thinking about the family, you know it hits close to home, he's a teammate, great friend and can't say enough about the guy," Hunter-Reay told reporters.

Wilson's crash was reminiscent of a 2009 incident when Brazil's Felipe Massa was struck in the helmet by a spring from Rubens Barichello's car during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix and had to undergo surgery.