THIS POST IS PART OF THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HAND, WRIST AND ELBOW INJURIES
Pippa Mann grew up in Europe as a racing fan; however, there were never any females racing in the top levels so Pippa was uncertain where her love for racing would take her. Then one day she saw a story about Sarah Fisher, a female driver who had finished second in an IndyCar race.
“Suddenly there was a female driver out there,” said Pippa. “And from that moment forward I started following IndyCar as a fan.”
As a driver, Pippa ended up in IndyCar by chance. She competed in open wheel racing in Europe where she became the first female driver to score points in World Series by Renault and was the first female driver to start a race from pole position in that series.
At the end of the 2008 racing season in Europe, Pippa was contemplating what her next step would be. That’s when the United States Panther Racing’s Indy Lights team called Pippa and the next thing she knew she was headed to the United States.
“I had a tough first year competing with Indy Lights,” said Pippa. “But I learned a lot. Then in my second year with Sam Schimdt Motorsports my results really started to come alive and I had the year that launched me into the opportunity to qualify for my first Indy 500 in 2011.”
That life-changing year was 2010. However, it did not come without a struggle. During testing for the Toronto Indy Lights race, Pippa made a mistake that resulted in contact with the armco wall, and a broken left hand.
“At the time I knew I had hurt it; however, I remember insisting that despite the fact it looked like I had somehow inserted half a tennis ball under the skin on the back of my left hand, I definitely hadn’t broken it. And more importantly, I was good to race,” said Pippa.
Despite her injury, Pippa raced the next day and finished in the top 10. She was finally persuaded to go for an X-ray on Monday and the physician confirmed her hand was in fact broken and she would need surgery.
Nevertheless, Pippa was determined to race a second time without treatment. By waiting to have surgery it would allow her to miss one race instead of two, which kept her goals within reach. The weekend after Toronto she raced again with her broken hand in Edmonton, Canada.
“With the points structure in Indy Lights, missing one race would make it very difficult to achieve my goal of finishing the championship in the top five, and missing two races entirely would make it almost impossible,” said Pippa. “Even though I wasn’t able to drive as well with my broken hand during the races in Toronto and Edmonton, the fact I was able to grit through it and bring home some points made a big difference at the end of the year.
Finally ready for surgery, Pippa met with Dr. Kevin Scheid of OrthoIndy.
“Even as a dare devil racing driver, I am a complete wimp when it comes to doctors, nurses and needles,” said Pippa. “Thankfully the staff at OrthoIndy have dealt with many nervous racing drivers before me, and they were able to reassure me that my hand would be just as good as new once I had the procedure.”
Two days after surgery, Pippa was doing physical therapy exercises for her hand. Two weeks later, Pippa finished top five in her first race back. One month after surgery, she won her first Indy Lights race.
“As a racing driver our hands are such important tools for us to be able to drive and compete. After my surgery, the running joke on our team was that the plate in the back of my hand must have been ‘bionic’ since I had great results the remainder of the racing season, which led me to finish in the top five in the championship despite missing one race after all,” said Pippa.
First IndyCar race
Pippa drove an IndyCar for the first time in March of 2011, and then qualified for her first Indianapolis 500 in May of that year. She was the eighth woman in history, and the first British female to start the 500 mile race. In 2016 Pippa competed in her fifth start at the Indianapolis 500, running as high as 8th place during the race before finishing in 18th place.
Pippa also works as a performance driving instructor and coach for various racing schools. She helped found an all female karting team called Team Empower that is scheduled to take to the track for the first time in 2017. She is passionate about giving back to non-profits and inspiring young girls to follow their dreams.
Outside of her career as a racecar driver, Pippa tries to live a more slow-paced life. She enjoys going to the movies, reading a good book, cooking, hosting get-togethers and spending time with her husband and friends. Her and her husband also love spending date nights trying new independent Indianapolis area restaurants whenever they get a chance.
“OrthoIndy is the place the pro-athletes trust. Whatever sport we play, when we have broken bones, or orthopedic issues, getting them resolved not only so we can live our lives comfortably, but so that we can perform again at the highest levels of our abilities after surgery or treatment is exceptionally important to us,” said Pippa. “OrthoIndy staff are not only the best in the business in terms of clinical care, but after treating and working with so many pro athletes, they understand the psychology of not only wanting to get better, but wanting to be able to return to competition as quickly as possible too.”
OrthoIndy and Pippa partnered together in 2017. OrthoIndy has provided orthopedic care for the racing community for years. Statistics show that women are the primary healthcare decision makers in a household; therefore, it was important to OrthoIndy to align with a female athlete in the Indianapolis community. Pippa Mann is a strong female athlete in a male-dominated profession, who has proved you can do anything you set your mind to.
Learn more about sports medicine treatment at OrthoIndy.
Schedule an appointment
Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.