Fred Sausset has had both of his arms and legs amputated, but that didn’t stop him from completing one of the world’s most gruelling road races.
Le Mans is an event that would put any driver’s skills to the test, but Sausset beat all of the odds, becoming the first Garage 56 entrant to complete the race, in which he came 38th overall. Sausset is a 47-year-old Frenchman who lost his limbs as the result of a bacterial infection in 2012 who, according to Fox Sports, ‘teamed with Christophe Tinseau and Jean-Bernard Bouvet in a specially adapted Morgan-Nissan LMP2.’
“I did not encounter any problems,” Sausset told Endurance-Info. “I was focused on my one and only goal, and that was to reach the finish.
“During the last laps I [paid] attention even more and I wanted get into a little rhythm. Before [going on] track, Christophe told me not to change anything, explaining that this is how the problems could happen.
“I was very apprehensive during my first stint. Christophe [started] in difficult conditions. For my part, I stayed focused on my work, which was to complete 11 laps of the stint.”
The Garage 56 is ‘reserved for technical or innovative initiatives‘, which includes the likes of Sausset’s specially-modified car. The car was fitted with specially modified controls which ‘were made under his thighs to operate the accelerator and brake pedals, while steering was achieved with a prosthetic limb attached to his right arm.’
“The physical preparation was good,” he said. “For me there was a lot of new things… But I have to say it was easier than Silverstone. The circuit suited me. Crossing the line was a joy. This was an extraordinary human adventure that goes beyond [my] participance in this race.
For those who lived through the different phases of this project, it is a real victory and that we lived together. SRT41 has become a real family. The result was beyond our expectations. Without stopping for 1 hour and 15 minutes at night to change the clutch, we could have finished in the top-30. Nobody made the slightest mistake. All if it has been etched forever. The end of the race, the podium with the standing ovation… I had forgotten about my handicap and my pain.”
Sausset is now planning his next race!