After an accident that occurred in 2011, professional driver Rob Parsons discovered he would never walk again. He didn’t let this tragedy sideline him from his chosen profession, however. As soon as he was able to leave the hospital, Rob went back to his shop to start working again.
His mission: to find a way to enable disabled drivers like himself to race drift cars. So when he realized the device he needed to drive didn’t exist, he set out on a mission to create it—then share it with the world. He started with a unique hand-controlled clutch system that enables disabled drivers to disengage the clutch as fast as or faster than the human foot.
Using SOLIDWORKS, Parsons was able to create the world’s most advanced hand-control clutch and braking system that enables the driver using hand controls to disengage the clutch at 95 milliseconds. Parsons also used SOLIDWORKS to design the car’s roll cage, which was built to strengthen the chassis as well as for safety and rollovers and side impacts.
The biggest issue with its design was Parson’s ability to physically get in and out of the vehicle. “Typically you would get in, measure it, get out, and fit a piece,” says Parsons. Instead Parsons got in the vehicle and did a 3D scan of the inside of the chassis, and imported that data file into SOLIDWORKS. “Then we build the roll cage around that 3D model that we scanned. Everything in the software just helps save time, and you can create a whole product that you can pretty much see if it’ll work before you even make it.”
As he was building the car, Parsons realized that there were many others who were interested in his groundbreaking hand-control driving system and decided to start a foundation to share and enable others to have the unique opportunity to drive his car. “We bring guys out, we get them on the track, and we teach them how to drive,” says Parsons. “People get so down on themselves because they don’t think they can do something and just getting inside the vehicle and driving it, it completely changed their lives.”
Click on the banner below to watch the entire Born to Desigh video to learn how Rob’s nonprofit, Chairslayer Foundation, is using SOLIDWORKS to create the world’s most advanced hand-control system for drifting, and inspiring people with disabilities to push beyond their comfort zones.