Quadriplegic Racecar Driver

10.18.2017
Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via In The News
Source: 
In The News
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

Sam Schmidt is a champion racer. He has driven in three consecutive Indy 500’s and won the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1999. However, in 2000, Sam was involved in a wreck while driving his race car during a practice lap for a race. He was injured and became a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. But, Sam’s love for the motorsport did not fade after his accident.

Sams racecar and his wheelchair

A company called Arrow Technologies has assisted Sam in modifying his very own race car, a Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The vehicle’s modifications include sensors, cameras, and a breathing tube.

Sam's modifications in his racecar

Sam has to exhale into the breathing tube to accelerate the car, and inhale to activate the brakes. To make the car turn left or right, Sam wears sunglasses that communicate his intentions with the advanced cameras and sensors.

“I anticipated the anxiety and the nervousness of getting in a car again. But, I think the biggest thing I did not realize (like an idiot) is the amazing overwhelming sense of normalcy.”

Sam is the first person in the country to be issued a restricted, semi-autonomous driver’s license. He can legally drive his Chevrolet Corvette Z06 on all state roads. Sam hopes to motivate other paralyzed individuals to get behind the wheel again.

Sam showed off his racecar and his racing skills on the Jay Leno Show.

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