Motorsport

Injured Veterans Look To Make History At Le Mans 24-Hour Race

Advanced hand controls allow disabled drivers to compete on equal terms.

The UK's first racing academy for disabled drivers, made up of mainly injured veterans, has been launched.

Team BRIT is hoping to become the first team of all-disabled drivers to race in the famous Le Mans 24 hour race in France.

The academy offers disabled drivers the opportunity to receive race coaching, tuition and undertake their race licence test. Advanced hand controls allow disabled drivers to compete on equal terms.

Team BRIT founder, Dave Player, told Forces News: "We're proud that British engineering has designed a world-leading bit of kit that is now going to be used by disabled people all over the world.

"We started off as just a team of injured troops but we're now open for disabled people and injured troops to race.

"As long as they tick the right boxes and want to become racing drivers, we want to hear about them."

Martyn Compton behind the wheel of a Team BRIT car.
Martyn Compton behind the wheel of a Team BRIT car.

One veteran who is already a big part of the team is Martyn Compton who suffered 70% burns after an attack in Afghanistan.

Mr Compton, who served in the Household Cavalry, said: "It (Team BRIT) gives disabled drivers of any kind the chance to be behind the wheel in a race car.

"We race against able-bodied [people] and that's the important thing - there's no difference, it doesn't matter what has happened to you.

"There are guys that have lost both legs and they race in the same series as able-bodied and that's the important thing and that's what Team BRIT is all about." 

An example of the hand controls used by Team BRIT drivers.
An example of the hand controls used by Team BRIT drivers.

Double amputee Ash Hall, an Ex-Royal Engineer who was injured by an IED in Afghanistan when he was 19, said: "To try and make a disability normal through motorsport is absolutely fantastic. 

"When you're out [on the] track with other cars racing with able-bodied people, it doesn't matter if you've got no legs, no arms, whatever...it's just they want to overtake you and you want to overtake them." 

 

Nicolas Hamilton, brother of Lewis, speaks to Forces News.
Nicolas Hamilton, brother of Lewis, speaks to Forces News.

The team is being backed by Nicolas Hamilton, brother of F1 World Champion Lewis. 

Mr Hamilton has cerebral palsy and was the first ever disabled driver to race in the British Touring Car Championship. He told Forces News: "When I started in 2011, I was the only disabled driver doing it at that time.

"Being able to share the same sorts of ambitions and dreams with people that have different conditions but generally, are the same as you, is a real eye-opener."