Dario Franchitti has announced that he will no longer be competing in motor racing, saying that he is retiring on the advice of the doctors treating him for injuries that he sustained in a late-race accident in Houston last month.

"Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority," said Franchitti in a statement released by the Chip Ganassi Racing Team on Thursday.

"One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post-accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing," he confirmed.

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"They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long term well-being," added Franchitti. "Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.

"I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks," he continued. "I'd also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support.

"I'd like to thank all my fellow competitors, teammates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride," said Franchitti. "Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it's really tough to think that the driving side is now over.

"I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series championship," said the 40-year-old, originally from Bathgate in Scotland. He had been due to be joined at the team next year by his old friend Tony Kanaan, as well as by longtime team mate Scott Dixon who just successfully clinched this year's IndyCar Series championship.

"I would be remiss if I didn't thank all my fans around the world. I can't thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years," Franchitti added. "I'll forever look back on my time racing in CART and the IndyCar Series with fond memories and the relationships I've forged in the sport will last a lifetime."

Team owner Chip Ganassi paid tribute to his star driver who had brought him so much success over the years, calling Franchitti "a motorsports legend" and adding that he would be "sorely missed on the race track by everyone in the paddock and in the stands" in 2014.

"Dario Franchitti has done so much for Target Chip Ganassi Racing so it will be very disappointing to not see him in our cars next season," said Ganassi. "His contributions to the sport of motor racing are too many to list but I can tell you that they go way beyond what he has done on the track.

"What's both impressive and unique about Dario is that he has always been a student of racing, someone who not only appreciates the actual science of the sport but also the rich heritage of those racers that have gone before him.

"This news only serves as the start of next chapter in Dario Franchitti's racing career - which I expect will be here with Target Chip Ganassi Racing," he continued, holding out the prospect that Franchitti will still be involved in the sport in some way in the future.

For Franchitti, it was still too soon to think about the next steps. "Hopefully in time, I'll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series," he said. "I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed. I'll be working with Chip to see how I can stay involved with the team, and with all the amazing friends I've made over the years at Target.

"As my buddy Greg Moore would say: 'See you up front.'"

Since Franchitti joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2008 he had delivered two Indianapolis 500 wins (2010 and 2012), the first-ever run of three-consecutive IndyCar Series titles by a Target driver (2009-2011), 13 Indy car wins, 16 pole positions and a win in the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Overall Franchitti has claimed 33 poles and 31 wins over the course of 265 career IndyCar starts, and his total of four championships puts him second only to AJ Foyt on the all-time list, and he is only the third driver in Indy car history to win at least three consecutive titles.

Franchitti's accident was the result of a last lap impact with Takuma Sato on the Houston street circuit in Reliant Park. The impact lifted Franchitti's car into the air where it was involved with the catchfence. Some spectators also received minor injuries from flying debris, but Sato was unhurt in the accident.