Team BRIT and Nicolas Hamilton launch the UK’s first racing academy for disabled drivers

Team BRIT and Nicolas Hamilton launch the UK’s first racing academy for disabled drivers

Team BRIT has launched the UK’s first racing academy for disabled drivers at a special event at Dunsfold racetrack in Surrey, supported by Nicolas Hamilton. Our writer, Emma Purcell, attended the launch and met with members of the academy.

On Wednesday 27th February, Team BRIT launched an exciting opportunity for disabled drivers, through its new Racing Academy. Nicolas Hamilton, brother of F1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, has cerebral palsy, and was the first ever disabled driver to race in the British Touring Car Championship. Nic came to support the launch of the Academy and to spread awareness to drivers across the UK.

Nicholas Hamilton stood in front of Team Brit car

Nicholas Hamilton stood in front of Aston Martin race car. Photo by David Archer, Kingsize Photography

It is estimated that there are around 2 million disabled drivers in the UK, accounting for 5% of the UK’s driving population.

Team BRIT consists of disabled drivers, the majority of whom are injured military veterans. It aims to be the first all-disabled team to race in the Le Mans 24 hour racing competition.  The team uses the world’s most advanced hand control technology to allow its drivers to compete on equal terms with able-bodied drivers.

Inside Team Brit racing car

An example of hand controllers in a race car. Photo by Emma Purcell

The academy, supported by Brit Insurance, will offer something never previously available to disabled drivers. It will offer expert tuition, coaching and instruction, along with the chance to take an Association of Racing Driver Schools test. If passed, it will equip them with a race licence, enabling them to race at circuits all over the UK.

Nicolas says: “I’m really pleased to be able to support the launch of Team BRIT’s Race Academy. I’m all about championing disability in motorsport, having been working at establishing myself in the sport since 2011.

Disabled people are used to being told what they can’t do. I’m all about proving what’s possible, and I’ve learnt that sharing my story inspires others, which can only be positive.

Team BRIT is inspiring others in the same way, and now, the Academy will open doors people haven’t had access to before, providing the same chances that able-bodied drivers have. This is a huge step forward in motorsport and something I’m proud to support.”

Emma Purcell in wheelchair in front of Team Brit racing car

An example of hand controllers in a race car. Photo by Emma Purcell

Dave Player, who founded Team BRIT in 2015, says: “We’re really proud that through Team BRIT we have supported more than half of the UK’s disabled racing drivers. But now we want to go further. The Academy gives anyone interested in racing the chance to give it a go, something that hasn’t been possible before.

We will support them right from the start, providing simulator training before they get on the track, expert coaching and specialist controls to suit most disabilities. Now is the time to level the playing field, if anyone is interested, I’d urge them to get in touch and give it a try.”

You can watch Emma’s video coverage of Team BRIT’s launch. It includes interviews with two rookie drivers.

To find out more about Team BRIT and how to apply for the academy, visit the Team Brit website.

By Emma Purcell

To see more of Emma’s work, visit her blog Rock For Disability.

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