A military veteran from Battle was part of a special event to launch the UK’s first racing academy for disabled drivers, supported by British Touring Car Championship competitor Nicolas Hamilton.
Nic joined Team BRIT at its base in Dunsfold, Surrey, on Wednesday, February 27 to launch the Team BRIT Racing Academy.
Nic has cerebral palsy and in 2015 was the first disabled driver to race a British Touring Car. At the launch he demonstrated the team’s cars and hand controls. The academy gives drivers access to the team’s world-leading hand controls, which use fly by wire technology to provide electronic acceleration and braking from a steering wheel that can be adapted to different physical disabilities.
Military veteran Martyn Compton, who lives in Battle is a driver for team BRIT which aims to become the first ever all-disabled team to compete in the Le Mans 24 hour race.
Martin will be one of three drivers competing in the team’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 in Britcar.
Many of the drivers are injured military personnel and have used motorsport as part of their rehabilitation and recovery.
Martyn, a former soldier in the Household Cavalry, suffered 70 percent burns to his body and gunshot wounds during an attack while serving in Afghanistan. He said the interest in the Race Academy has been phenomenal, adding: “This just shows what an opportunity it is. Disabled people have not had such easy, supported access into motorsport before and it’s time for that to change.
“Team BRIT is all about overcoming challenge and showing what’s possible.
“I hope disabled drivers will now have the confidence to try something they never thought possible.”
The academy, supported by Brit Insurance, will allow even more disabled people the chance to access motorsport at entry level, with the opportunity to undertake their race licence test.
Nic Hamilton, brother to five-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton, plans to return to championship racing this year, driving a specially modified Ford Focus RS. He says he’s pleased to support the launch of Team BRIT’s Racing Academy.
“I’m all about championing disability in motorsport, having been working at establishing myself in the sport since 2011,” he said.
“Disabled people are used to being told what they can’t do. I’m all about proving what’s possible. I’ve learned 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.”