James Hinchcliffe, driver for A1 Team Canada, began his racing career with kart racing, and in 1998 he the second position in TKC, in novice points, as well as Iron Man Enduro championship title under his belt. Hinchcliffe’s TKC second place finish was due to five race wins and 7 podium positions. In the following season, Hinchcliffe repeated his performance at the Iron Man Enduro championship clinching the title once again, and further finishing third in the TKC Winter Series, and third in the TKC Jr. Light category, achieved by four race wins and six podium positions.
Hinchcliffe stayed on in kart racing in 2000 as well and won his third consecutive Iron Man Enduro championship. He also repeated his third place finish at the TKC Jr. Light category with four race wins and seven podium positions. Hinchcliffe also clinched the TKC Jr. Pro Class championship, with an impressive five race wins and 8 podium positions. In 2001, Hinchcliffe won the “Student of the Year” award at Avenue Motorworks Legend Racing School Karting, and a further third place finish in the Canadian Nationals, 80cc.
In the 2002 season, Hinchcliffe completed a four day course at the Performance Driving School, at Bridgestone Academy, and participated in the Bridgestone Toronto Star Wheels F2000 Pro Series, where he accumulated one race wins, one pole position and one start. The next year, Hinchcliffe finished in 3rd place with five race wins and an impressive 10 podium finishes, at the 2003 Bridgestone Racing Academy F2000 Series.
2004 played witness to second place finish at the Formula BMW USA Championship, with three race wins, four poles, ten podium finishes and also the Rookie of the Year award. Hinchcliffe further went on to win the Formula BMW USA Scholarship and went on to become the official BMW Junior Team driver. In 2005, Hinchcliffe made his debut in the Star Mazda Series where he finished in third place, and won the Rookie of the Year title, with a second place finish from 3 race wins and 3 pole positions.
In 2006 Hinchcliffe made his Champ Car Atlantic championship debut and finished in tenth place, with one race win, three podium finishes and one pole. He was selected for A1 Team Canada for the 2006-07 season, and went on to clinch one podium, seven top-10 finishes, and completed 7 out of the 11 rounds, resulting in Canada finishing in 11th place in the season. In 2007, Hinchcliffe finished in 4th place in the Champ Car Atlantic championship, with 3 poles, five podiums and was honored with the Gilles Villeneuve award.