Sam Schmidt drives SAM car at IMS

Sam Schmidt got behind the wheel of a black Corvette on Sunday morning to take laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Schmidt, who is a quadriplegic as the result of a testing accident in 2000, drove the car around the track prior to the start of Pole Day.

Hands and feet are not required to drive the SAM car (Semi-Autonomous Motorcar) rather sensors in a hat transmit information to the dashboard. Head tilting is used for acceleration while biting slows it down. (Below is a video further describing it)

“I think this will have huge benefits for people with disabilities down the road,” said Schmidt via IMS’s official website. “This is a full-circle moment today. A lot of the emotions stem from being at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It got to qualify for the race three times.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was constructed originally as a place to drive automotive innovation, and the multitude of innovations that have been discovered here over 102 years means a lot.

“The thing that was so emotional and enlightening was the great sense of accomplishment that comes from doing something that feels normal. I do a lot of the things I did before, but I do it all with assistance. I’m not in control of the situation. But in this car I feel the most normal I’ve felt in 14 years.”