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Saturday, October 16, 2021
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    Despite losing both arms in a devastating accident, a racing enthusiast has continued to pursue his love by driving

     

    Despite losing both arms in a devastating accident, a racing enthusiast has continued to pursue his love by driving cars with his feet and even competing in drifting championships against able-bodied drivers.

    Bartek Ostalowski lost both of his limbs in a motorcycle accident in 2006, but it didn’t stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a professional racing driver. At only 20 years old, finding yourself armless and faced with the enormous job of learning to drive a car on a race circuit must have been quite a shock for Bartek, but he summoned the bravery and determination to carry on, and in three years he became a master of handling a racecar with his feet. Today, Bartek Ostalowski is the only professional sport driver in the world that drives with his feet.

    To accommodate his physical constraints, Bartek upgraded his Nissan Skyline GT-R racer, adding a new engine, an independent gearbox, and a stronger transmission. The ambitious Polish driver steers with his left foot while controlling the pedals with his right. The shoulder is used to operate the automatic.

    “After my accident, I was looking for a solution. I asked myself if I wanted to race again what would I need to do?” Bartek told Business Insider. “I heard about someone in Poland who, like me, had no arms, but he drove a car on a daily basis with no problem. After meeting him, my dream and passion for motorsports were alive and strong, and I made the decision to return to racing one day.”

    Bartek Ostalowski took on an even bigger challenge after earning a name for himself on the Polish racing circuit: drift racing. If you’ve ever tried drifting, you know how difficult it is, needing quick reactions and precise hand-eye coordination to manage the car as it skids around the course. Barek, on the other hand, manages to do it using only his feet.

     

    Ostalowski placed ninth out of 50 drivers in the Polish Drift Championship in 2019, one of Europe’s most competitive championship series, and he won the international Czech Drift Series the year before, defeating dozens of other professional sports drivers.

    Ostalowski placed ninth out of 50 drivers in the Polish Drift Championship in 2019, one of Europe’s most competitive championship series, and he won the international Czech Drift Series the year before, defeating dozens of other professional sports drivers.

    “Of course I encourage other people with disabilities to get involved in motorsports. It’s a beautiful passion and I think a great form of rehabilitation too. So make your dreams come true,” the Polish driver said.

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