When life gives you lemons, you are supposed to make lemon juice. Easier said than done, especially if you end up disabled after a serious BMX accident like race driver Mario Bonfante Jr.
Undeterred by legs that no longer work and many other physical impairments, Bonfante continued his dream of being a race driver – a special control system fitted to his E46 BMW M3 race car for braking and changing gear from the steering wheel allowing him to do just that.
Microsoft’s Xbox division chose to document Bonfante’s life story in a short YouTube documentary, which highlights how the video game Forza Motorsport 5 helps with the fine-tuning of his car and perfecting racing lines.
“Video games did help with my rehab in aspects of distracting and refocusing my mind on other areas rather than certain issues of things I was dealing with at hand. Not being able to use my fingers and having to learn how to readapt to use the controller was an interesting experience in itself,” Bonfante said in an interview with Complex.
“I would play games like Forza Motorsport prior to my injury as well as even now to learn new tracks that I’ve never been to and practice learning the line and different reference points for braking and apex angles,” he added.
Mario Bonfante started off BMXing and racing motorbikes, earning his professional road licence for the latter at just 16 years old. An accident on September 15th, 2006 that broke his neck (among other things) left him classified as a quadriplegic. Now the goal is to maintain sponsorship funding and win races.
Ignore the marketing mature of the video – it’s really moving stuff. A mixture of physical therapy, drive, competitiveness, belief in God and the willing to press on with life got Bonfante back on the road to success. Even when everyone was telling him it was impossible. Good on him.