Pietro Fittipaldi says he is on target for his IndyCar return at Mid-Ohio next month after testing a kart for the first time since his leg-breaking World Endurance Championship accident.
Fittipaldi, who has been rehabilitating with renowned orthopaedic surgeons Doctors Terry Trammell and Timothy Weber and at PitFit Training in Indianapolis, returned home to North Carolina two days ago and went karting at the GoPro Motorplex track in Mooresville with his brother Enzo and former Indycar racer uncle Max Papis.
It was the first time Fittipaldi had been on track since breaking both legs in his LMP1 crash at the WEC opener at Spa in May, which caused him to miss the Indianapolis 500 and two other races that should have featured in his part-season with Dale Coyne Racing.
"I have been using a simulator, but this was my first time driving something 'real life' since the accident," Fittipaldi told Autosport.
"Obviously I feel the injuries a little bit when I'm going over kerbing - those karts have no suspension really, it goes straight through your body.
"But it's normal and I'm really happy with everything.
"It's not 100% yet which is why I'm still working on the recovery - I mean, things like walking. But when I got in the kart I could drive very well.
"So at Mid-Ohio I will test a Formula 4 car and then the IndyCar too. I don't know the track, but at the same time I'm learning the new track, I'll be seeing how I feel. It will be a shakedown.
"The F4 car has steel brakes and you don't have to hit the brakes as hard as the carbon brakes like you have in IndyCar, so I'm gradually making steps, getting into it slowly."
Coyne has shuffled its programme so Fittipaldi will now compete in the final five races of the IndyCar season after his Mid-Ohio return at the end of July.
Fittipaldi admitted there had been times when he doubted his target to returning to racing in under three months was going to be achievable.
"You just never know how fast the bones are going to heal, but I'm really lucky," he said.
"My ankle has healed extremely well and stayed mobile and strong, and they're both really important characteristics.
"And the bones on my left leg that broke, they take longer just because they're bigger bones.
"When you have an accident like that, you have to set a goal for recovery otherwise it becomes a bit too open.
"And so I looked at the IndyCar calendar and counted down and I set myself an optimistic goal.
"I sat down with Dr Trammell and we said, 'OK, this is the goal for this week, this is the goal for this week, this is the next goal,' and so on.
"Although it was optimistic, it was possible and achievable and we're still on target and I can come back strong."