Double Amputee Afghan Veteran Sets Sights On Le Mans

Scottish veteran who lost his legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan says he's determined to race at the Le Mans 24-hour event...

Racing driver David Birrell lost both his legs after being hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan in 2010.

Now he aims to become the first double amputee to compete at Le Mans, the 24-hour endurance race - in a car that is not adapted. Birrell says:

"I want to be the first guy to do [it]... When I'm in that racecar, I feel like a different person. I feel like a bird that flies. I've not got any stress. All I want to do is keep my eye on that target." 

The first race of the season was a two-hour event at Silverstone and the team were devastated to withdraw after race one due to technical problems.

David Birrell

Last year his team, Woodard Racing finished 9th overall in the Britcar Championship and there is work to do. Team Principal, Peter Woodard says:

"It's not just about going one fast lap and crashing. There's a lot more thought to it. That's the whole point of doing 24-hours - it is the ultimate challenge"

Le Mans will require years of preparation. 

Birrell has embarked on an intensive fitness program, tailored to his body, to train for the many hours of driving. Stephen Clarke, from The Kilted Coaches, said: 

"The stress that goes onto their body with the temperatures, turning corners, the g-force. They really have to fit, strong guys or girls to endure that."

David Birrell

The road to Le Mans may be long but this is a man and a team with their eyes firmly set on that prize.

The next race of the season will be held on May 6th.

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