Michael Johnson: Formula 1 Racer
Michael Johnson, 22, is currently the first and only paralyzed driver who is
licensed by INDYCAR to compete in the series' developmental ladder program, which
prepares drivers for the VERIZON IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500.
I met Michael several years ago before he became the first paralyzed driver
to be licensed by INDYCAR. He visited the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center
in Knoxville, TN and showed a group of people with Spinal Cord Injuries what
you can do if you set your mind to it. You can see his website at:
The photo above is of Michael as of 2015. The photos below are of Michael in October of 2012 before he got his INDYCAR license.
This sequence of photos shows how Michael gets into his The vehicle is not a toy. It is a high tech racing machine used to prepare young racers for INDYCAR racing.
In 2012, Johnson drove a full season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series, finishing 15th during his rookie season. The season included a best finish of 10th at Road America, earning Johnson the Tilton Hard Charger Award for advancing 18 positions.
The series is the first step in the "Mazda Road to Indy" development ladder system that was introduced by the IndyCar Series in 2009, and is designed to advance career-minded drivers to the VERIZON IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500.
Getting back to these photos, you can see that it's a really tight fit. But Michael doesn't let anything stop him - certainly nothing like transferring from his wheelchair into his racing car.
Michael cannot use his legs to operate the car. He uses his left hand to control a throttle lever and his right hand to shift gears.
He pushes on the "steering wheel" to brake.
Awesome. More power to ya, Michael!