Marco Giltrap says he has lost zero confidence in himself and motorsport after his serious crash in the third round of the North Island Endurance Series at Taupo.
The 17-year-old careened head-first into a concrete wall at a rate of speed after an ABS failure on the McLaren GT4 he was sharing with Simon Evans.
Giltrap shattered his L5 vertebrae and broke his tibia (shinbone) and hand in the crash.
Yesterday, nearly a whole fortnight since the crash, marked the first day Giltrap returned home after extensive time in the hospital with surgery and rehabilitation.
Speaking with Velocity News from his home, Giltrap described his experience of the accident.
“I remember it whole, the full crash,” he said.
“I stayed conscious the entire time thanks to the HANS device and amazing safety gear we wear.
“As I entered the braking zone on the straight, the front wheels locked. At the time, I didn’t know that it was an ABS problem.
“When I saw the concrete wall, I was sure I was going to hit it.
“So, I braced for impact and let my hands go of the steering wheel. But I kept my foot on the brake, which was probably what broke my tibia bone in my leg.
“The initial impact was hard, and I came to a stop in just a few metres.”
The race was immediately neutralised behind the safety car, and ambulances and trackside safety crews rushed to the stricken McLaren.
“[The safety crew] were awesome all the way from when they got to me and up until I went to the hospital,” Giltrap said.
“They got to me so quickly, and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be as healthy as I am now.”
Giltrap admits that his current condition and the necessary rehab to re-strengthen the muscle in his leg means he likely won’t be back in a race car until the end of the year.
However, he is already looking forward to test days in a car once he feels healthy again.
“I was in the hospital for almost two weeks.
“I am home now, still a bit sore, but at least at home.
“The next thing now is rehab with my leg to build back the muscle and strength in it.
“Once I feel better, I will do some test days to ease back into things.
“Hopefully, that can be near the end of the year.”
Reflecting on the accident, Giltrap shrugged it off as a mere inconvenience to his career path.
He says his confidence has not disappeared. His recovery from such a big crash only motivates him more.
“Oh, absolutely not,” he replied when asked whether his confidence was knocked.
“It has only motivated me to get back to racing and to keep getting better and better.”