For the first time since the accident 20 years ago that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down, former Indy Car racer Sam Schmidt will be returning to racing competition in a modified C8 at a USCA race at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park Oct. 10-11.
The return to competition is just the latest in a string of amazing accomplishments for the inspiring racer.
Since 2013, the scientific whizzes at Arrow Electronics have been collaborating with other whizzes in aeronautic systems, flight medicine, and spinal injury medicine to develop modified Corvettes that Schmidt can control with head movements.
One such 2014 Stingray – known appropriately enough as SAM for Semi-Autonomous Motorcar – is on display at the NCM in the Skydome.
In less than a year, the Arrow team was able to integrate separate steering, acceleration, braking and GPS navigation controls that Schmidt could use to drive the car and make his debut in demonstration laps at the 2014 Indy 500 where he was able to hit 107 mph.
Schmidt has nearly doubled that top speed in the years since, reaching 192 mph in a demo run with the Air Force Thunderbirds. He has also tested other Corvettes modified by Arrow, including a 2016 Z06 and a 2020 Stingray, at the Bosch Proving Grounds. He even reached the 14,000-foot summit of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
With a unique driver’s license from his home state of Nevada, he’s even been able to drive in Washington, DC as well as San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York City, and Boston.
National Corvette Museum