There is no place like home, and Just Hands Foundation founder Torsten Gross will look to make the most of his home track advantage this Memorial Day weekend as he is set to make his International GT (IGT) debut at Lime Rock Park.
The International GT outing will be staged as part of the traditional Trans Am Memorial Day weekend event at Lime Rock Park on May 26-29, with IGT staging two races on Saturday. Gross, who will race a Porsche Cayman 981 prepared by Hairy Dog Grrrage, was first bit by the high performance driving bug at Lime Rock Park, and is looking forward to making his competition debut at the track that he calls home.
“We have had a lot of Just Hands Foundation event days hosting new drivers this spring, but whenever I can, I’ve been practicing as much as I possible for this IGT race at Lime Rock,” said Gross, who recently joined the Lime Rock Park Drivers Club to add to his access to laps at the lightning-fast facility. “I love this track and feel really comfortable here, so it feels like a really natural progression to make this next step by actually going racing here at Lime Rock.”
A C6 quadriplegic, Gross has harnessed his extreme motivation and drive into a relentless pursuit of achievements that have included completing 12 marathons in 12 months, sky diving, and becoming the only qualified licensed quadriplegic Rescue SCUBA diver as he looks forward to his debut as a racing driver.
In 2021, Gross launched the Just Hands Foundation, which is a 501c3 dedicated to normalizing the use of hand controls in performance driving. The Just Hands Foundation gives anyone in a wheelchair a life-changing opportunity to break through limits and get on a race track with an instructor to experience high-performance driving, and will participate in nearly 50 track day events in 2023, providing once in a lifetime opportunities for handicapped drivers to experience the thrill of using hand controls to drive on track.
Just Hands Foundation recently announced a new partnership with Pennzoil as part of the brand’s “Long May We Drive” campaign, which focuses on the love of the drive that connects us all. The campaign highlights the brands’ engagement with Just Hands Foundation, as well as NASCAR driver Joey Logano and renowned motorsports photographer Larry Chen.
Despite the extensive preparation that has gone into being ready for the race outing, Gross admits that he still feels pressure, even if it is self-induced.
“I love the fact that I have the chance to compete in the same class as able-bodied drivers, and feel that with the hand controls, I have an equal chance at success that they do,” said Gross. “But I do feel a little bit of extra pressure just to make sure that I am doing as good a job as I can to represent everyone who is in a wheel chair. So that adds a little bit to think about for me, but I think it’s a good pressure to succeed on behalf of everyone.”
To support Just Hands Foundation, please visit www.justhands.org to make a donation and learn more about hand control driving.