RETIRED racing driver Dario Franchitti has told how he is adjusting to a single lifestyle since returning home to Scotland.

The four-time IndyCar champ­ionship revealed he is now officially divorced from actress wife Ashley Judd after they separated last year.

He has moved back to his £4 million country mansion in Port Of Menteith, near Aberfoyle, Stirlingshire, from the US after being forced to retire from racing through injury.

Loading article content

Franchitti, 40, suffered two broken vertebrae, a fractured right ankle and severe concussion in a 200mph smash when his car went airborne into a fence on the last lap and landed back on the track in Houston, Texas, last October.

He said shortly afterwards head and spinal injuries suffered forced him to stop racing.

The Bathgate-born driver has now told how being single again was a big change and said he spent a lot of time decorating his mansion to fill his time.

Asked what it is like being single again, he said: "It's different. I tend to rattle about the house a little bit. It's all part of change I guess.

"Ashley and I are great friends. We got divorced last year, it was not an easy decision for either of us. But we are still great friends and she is a very, very important person in my life."

He added: "I got to live my dream. What I dreamed of as a kid I got to do for 20-plus years, it was really great, but I was always homesick.

"Scotland is the most wonderful place, the scenery, the people, but I think more than anything just being home is the big thing for me.

"When I am not working I like to live as normal a life as I can. One of the great things about being in Scotland is I really can get that.

"There is no greater place to be in the world. It's perfect."

Franchitti, who won the Indy 500 race three times, gave a US TV crew a tour of his stately home and showed them how he is busy decorating it with mementoes from his racing career.

He told how he felt lucky to be alive after his accident last year, which caused him to suffer five weeks of memory loss.

He added: "At first, I was looking for a way around it (retirement). It became apparent very quickly that I couldn't. I was pretty sad about it but then I would say, 'What the hell you going on about here? You got out in almost one piece, you had a career you never dreamed of'.

"The alternative would have been a lot worse."

His mother Marina saw the crash on television and believes divine intervention saved her son's life. She said: "We are so, so lucky he is still here. It wasn't his time to go. I believe in the safety of that car, I believe in divine intervention, probably in the way it hit."

Franchitti wed Hollywood star Judd, 45, in December, 2001, at Skibo Castle, near Dornoch, but the pair announced they had separated in January last year.

She rushed to his side after his crash, raising hopes of a reconciliation but that has been ruled out.

Franchitti is now working as a IndyCar racing consultant and will be a pundit for US television at this year's 500 race.