Former Royal Marine Steve McCulley has told Forces Radio BFBS how he got into motorsport, after the unveiling of the brand new Invictus Games Racing team.

The all-new outfit comprises of wounded, injured or sick veterans selected by the Mission Motorsport charity. 

Steve, who served for 17 years with the Royal Marines in places like Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan, spoke to Richard Hatch and Verity Geere on the Hatch And Geere show about how he was targeted by the Taliban but how motorsport has given him a new direction in life.

Steve (centre, on the right-hand side of the image) will race alongside fellow veteran Paul Vice (right) in Car 44, mentored by Matthew George (left), while Ben Norfolk and Basil Rawlinson will also race in Car 22, mentored by professional driver Jason Wolfe

He said: "It was on my second tour to Afghanistan in 2011 [when] I was commanding a company of 175 marines [that] I was seriously injured by an IED [improvised explosive device].

"It was what's known as a 'directional fragmentation charge'.

"The Taliban had worked out who I was and they were specifically targeting me. They were waiting for me to walk past a certain point. I was about seventh in the patrol and they set it off."

"It did a lot of damage all down my right-hand side because it was to my right by a few metres.

"[There was] a massive... hole in my chest [and injuries to my] right arm [and] leg [but] it was the chest injury that was the life-threatening injury because it tore through my lung.

"They put me to sleep on board the helicopter on the way to [Camp] Bastion and I actually ended up being in an induced coma for three weeks after that due to the severity of the chest injury."

Being interviewed by Forces Network's Jon Knighton at the team's launch

He then spent nearly two months in hospital before moving to Headley Court, where he spent two years undergoing physical rehabilitation, having lost 40% strength in right arm and suffered internal injuries.

During that time he got introduced to Jim Cameron, who runs Mission Motorsport. Steve said:

"I'd always hankered after doing some kind of motorsport but never thought it would ever be possible - [but] he got me involved with the charity.

"Through Caterham [Cars], who are very good supporters of Mission Motorsport an opportunity came up in 2014 to race in the Caterham Academy, and I suppose the rest is history."

He added that motorsport had helped him to stop using the painkillers and alcohol he had been using to cope with his injuries, saying:

"[Motorsport] gave me an opportunity to be involved in a team again, [it] gave me an opportunity to do a high-octane, high-adrenaline sport."

The team will compete in the 2018 British GT Championship, racing in specially-designed Jaguar sports cars capable of speeds over 200mph.

In fact, the cars are so powerful they'll have to be adapted for the team's races:

"Interestingly, to compete in British GT the engine will actually have to be de-tuned", Steve said.

He and the team will be competing at world-famous circuits, both in the UK at places like Silverstone and abroad, at tracks like Spa-Francorchamps. 

Fans can follow Invictus Games Racing on TwitterFacebook or Instagram for regular updates on the team's progress.

Click below, meanwhile, to see the highlights from the team's recent launch at the Autosport International Show.

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