BRASELTON, GA (April 26, 2002) -- Bob Akin was listed in "critical and extremely unstable" condition Friday after suffering serious injuries in a historic sports car testing session at Road Atlanta Thursday.
Akin, 66, suffered a "complete disruption" of the C5/C6 vertebrae. Doctors at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta said it would be at least Monday before any additional tests could be done, due to the swelling. Akin also suffered third-degree burns on 15% of his body (hands, face and left shoulder), has a broken left leg, broken right arm, broken left shoulder and multiple lacerations.
Akin was driving a 1988 Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo during testing for this weekend's Walter Mitty Challenge at Road Atlanta. The Mitty is sanctioned by the Historic Sportscar Racing association and features vintage and historic cars from a wide variety of racing series.
Akin, who won the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring in 1979 and 1986, was a standout in sports car racing in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) during his professional driving career. He also made six starts in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a best finish of fourth in 1984.
Akin started racing in 1957 in dragsters, then switched to road racing in 1959. He retired from driving in 1961 to concentrate on his business, Hudson Wiring, but returned to racing in 1973.
Akin retired from professional racing in 1991. Since then, he has remained active in vintage and historic car racing and runs a racing company in Ossining, N.Y.