Pietro Fittipaldi returned to the racetrack for the first time earlier this week to turn laps in a kart as part of rehabilitation for the broken leg and ankle he suffered in an FIA World Endurance Championship event.
Based on what he experienced with the kart, the Verizon IndyCar Series rookie says getting behind the wheel of the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda at Mid-Ohio will not be a problem.
“I’ve been staying in a motorhome inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for six weeks, which has been an amazing experience by itself, just going to rehab each day, doing a lot of swimming, going to PitFit, and seeing [IndyCar’s] Dr. Trammel, and after six weeks, I just went home to North Carolina and started karting again,” Fittipaldi told RACER.
“I went out to the Mooresville track with my uncle Max [Papis] and brother Enzo, and there was some pain, but it wasn’t that bad. I ran really well and felt really good.”
With damage suffered with both legs at the Spa WEC event in May after an electrical failure in his LMP1 prototype pitched the car into the barriers at a high rate of speed, the healing process has been coming along rather quickly.
“I’m not walking yet, but I’m already 100-percent weight-bearing with my left leg, and 50 percent with my right, but that isn’t a problem because you don’t need all your strength to hold the throttle down,” he added.
“I should be walking in two weeks or so, and was already cleared by Dr. Trammel to drive. Thank God everything’s gone so well.”
Next up for Fittipaldi, who turned 22 on Monday, is a test in his DCR Honda at the site where he expects to race on July 29.
“Dr. Trammel set a goal for me of Mid-Ohio, which was optimistic but you need goals to push towards, so I’ve been training for that and thanks to all the great people around me, I’ll be testing at Mid-Ohio on July 17, so we’ll be back there,” he said. “I don’t want to race unless I’m capable of doing 100 percent, no excuses, and I feel like that’s where things are headed, so I’m really excited.”