When there’s a will, there’s a way
Bartek Ostalowski is a professional Polish sports driver that mastered the maneuvering of a racecar with his feet. After a tragic motorcycle accident in 2006, Bartek lost both his arms but the motorsports enthusiast didn’t give up and still pursued his dream of becoming a professional driver. At just 20 years old, he mustered up the courage to learn to drive with his feet which must have been a challenging experience for him but instead of giving up on his dreams, he pushed himself to the edge and today he’s the world’s only professional sports driver who drives using his feet.
To overcome the physical limitations of driving, Bartek customized his Nissan Skyline GT-R racecar according to his own needs by adding a new engine, an independent gearbox and a stronger transmission. Bartek uses his right foot to control the pedals while steering with his left foot, and drifts just like any other professional racer out there.
During his interview with Business Insider, he said, “After my accident, I was looking for a solution. I asked myself if I wanted to race again what would I need to do? 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.”
After getting the recognition he deserved on the Polish racing circuit, Bartek took on a more challenging task of drift racing. Even professional drivers are cautious when it comes to drift racing as it requires quick reactions and precise hand-eye coordination to control the car as it skids around but Bartek has proven that he’s just like the rest when it comes to racecars and can drift his car using only his feet.
Bartek participated in the Polish Drift Championship in 2019 which is one of the most difficult championship series in Europe and placed 9th out of 50 drivers. Similarly, he was the winner of the international Czech Drift Series in 2018. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.
The Polish driver is truly an inspiration for disabled people around the world and gives them hope that with hard work, anything is possible. “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.”