* This post is written by one of our volunteer guest bloggers - it is not sponsored. *
For many people living with a disability, the concept of competing in mainstream sport against able-bodied people, on a totally level playing field seems far-fetched. Whilst the Paralympic Games, Invictus Games and Para championships showcase a spectrum of incredible sporting talents, they position disabled athletes in a separate championship, within their own sector. Team BRIT has changed that.
Launched in 2015 with aims of becoming the first-ever British all-disabled racing team to take part in the Le Mans 24 hour race; along with supporting people with physical and psychological challenges in accessing motorsport through its Racing Academy, which launched in 2019.
You might be thinking, how does it work? With an incredible team, innovative technology and strong belief! Team founder Dave Player, an ex-Royal Engineer and wheelchair user following a spinal injury, set up the charity KartForce in 2011. Helping injured troops with their recovery and rehabilitation by providing access to motorsport. But in order to enable people with limb disabilities or amputations to race, they had to design a set of hand controls that could be fitted into go-karts.
Fast forward to when Team BRIT was formed, these hand controls were further developed and refined, creating the world’s most advanced racing controls, based on electronic braking and fly by wire technology. Disabled racers can now control the car entirely from the steering wheel, stopping the need to move their hand towards traditional push/pull controls, which would put them at a disadvantage on the race track. Current Team BRIT drivers have a range of physical and psychological disabilities including:
Bobby Trundley - GT4 Driver Living With Severe Autism
Nerys Pearce - Newest Rookie, Paraplegic, Ex-Army Medic & The Team’s First Female Driver
Tom Dorman - An Amputee Police Officer
Having completed their most successful year to date in the Britcar Championship last year, the team is set to get going again in 2021 with a fleet of five cars including BMWs for the rookies, and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 for the most experienced racers.
Once coronavirus restrictions begin to ease throughout 2021, the team’s Racing Academy will re-open, offering you the chance for a racing experience like no other at some of the UK’s top racing circuits. As part of an academy day, you’ll learn to use the hand controls on a top of the range racing simulator, before going out on track as a passenger and receiving one on one coaching. It’s then your turn to hit the track as a driver! If real-life racing isn’t your thing, the team also has a sim-racing arm in eTeam BRIT, which is made up of disabled drivers competing in eSport competitions such as iRacing.
For more information on how to get involved either in person or online, simply check out the links throughout this post. You will also find links to Team BRIT’s social channels and Vimeo promotional films below!