Motorsport

Veteran Hopes To Make History At Le Mans

David Birrell wants to be the first double amputee to complete a lap in a non-adapted car.

A veteran aiming to make history at the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race believes “staying positive” is the key.

David Birrell lost both of his legs in 2010 after an IED blast in Afghanistan, but has since had a successful career in motorsport.

Birrell’s aim is to become the first double amputee to compete at the endurance race in a non-adapted car.

The Le Mans track runs at just over 13km meaning the quickest lap time currently sits at 3 hours and 17 minutes.

For the soldier, being back behind the wheel is exactly what he was craving.

He said: “It gives me some of that adrenaline that I’m missing for one-on-one competition.

“Racing was the only thing that was giving me that because you need to train. You need to keep fit and you need to keep sharp.

“It’s all about the motivation in yourself to keep on going.”

Birrell’s good work with a number of charities has resulted in a nomination for a Soldiering On Award.

David Birrell View 18032019 Credit BFBS.jpg
This is a similar view to which Birrall will have behind the wheel at Le Mans.

According to him, the reason for that is due to his positive nature.

He said: “You’ve got to have a positive mind-set and that positive belief in yourself to know you can do this and do that.

“There are so many jealous people out there that will try and push you down. You could lose that positive mind-set.

“Mentally, if you are not in the right place or mind to do what you are going to do, your physical state isn’t going to be great either.

“You need to be positive like I have been. I have to be.

"I’ve got three kids with one on the way. I have to be positive.”

That positive attitude has meant Birrell is looking forward to his history-making Le Mans drive.

He said: “Even thinking about it now, it makes me smile. It’s probably one of the longest races or longest laps you will ever do in a car.

“It’s one of the most phenomenal races in the world. You have iconic people who have raced it and completed it.”