After a two-year engagement, the couple married in Skibo Castle, near Dornoch, in 2001. By the time of his final race in October 2013 he had secured 31 victories from 265 starts in American racing which put him in ninth place on the all-time wins lists.Last year he was awarded an MBE for his contribution to motorsport. It's only when something went wrong that it started to feel really quick.
"Dad re-mortgaged the house and family and friends pitched in to help me get through that first year and after that, that was it. From that meeting, things were on the up for Franchitti.Wheldon, a close friend and team-mate of Franchitti, was killed in a horrific pile-up at the Las Vegas Indy 300 in 2011, aged 33.Franchitti, who participated in the race and was afterwards confirmed Indy Car Series champion, was reported as sobbing uncontrollably as he got back into his car to take part in a lap of honour as a tribute to his friend.Walking through the streets of Edinburgh with Dario Franchitti is an eye-opening experience.For despite being one of Scotland's most accomplished sporting heroes, the former racing driver can stroll around without anyone batting an eyelid.For those outwith the world of motorsport, the risks seem unimaginable, a fact Franchitti is now in a position to admit. If you were doing 250mph, you wanted to be doing 251, you wanted to go faster.The focus is pretty intense." Indeed, the history of motorsport is punctuated by the tragic deaths of its stars.It is only when we stop to take photographs that heads begin swivelling.Even then, it's unclear whether people recognise the four-time Indy Car champion, who won the Indianapolis 500 race three times, or assume he must be famous, or a model; with his striking Italian looks he certainly could be.Dressed smartly in a belted jacket over jeans, he readies himself for the photographer by sweeping his fingers through his curly hair."I do like to keep a low profile," he says, with a laugh.