Issue 04 | Spring 2021
WANT TO BE A RACING DRIVER?
TIPS, ADVICE AND WHAT TO DO... WE’VE GOT IT ALL
IN THIS ISSUE:
Pages 3, 4 & 5
THE CLASS OF 2021 2021 is set to be our biggest season yet, entering the Britcar Endurance and Trophy Championships
BESPOKE TECH SOLUTIONS
THE DOUGLAS BADER FOUNDATION
Find out how our technology levels the playing field for disabled drivers...
Q&A with Dave Bickers, Co-Founder of the Douglas Bader Foundation
THE WORD FROM
Is it April yet??? We’re absolutely chomping at the bit to get back on track and we’re delighted to have confirmed our entry into the Britcar Championship once again this year. The race organisers have done a fantastic job at responding to the ever-changing context we’re living in and have moved the planned start of the season, so we’ll be starting this year’s racing at Silverstone on the 25th April. Hear more about what it’s been like to manage a race series during a pandemic from Britcar Managing Director, Claire Hedley on pages 18 and 19. It’s been a whirlwind few months for us. Despite the challenges of lockdown and a severe lack of racing, we’re in our strongest shape yet as we head into the 2021 season. With a strong line up of drivers, a new, purpose-built car for our rookies and a stellar army of sponsors behind us, I know this year is going to be incredible. There’s so much news to share in this latest ezine, but what’s most exciting is our hunt for the Team BRIT rookies of the future. Our long-term aim is to create a sustainable, accessible ladder into motorsport for disabled drivers, so we want to welcome more talented people into the sport that we love. Read on to learn more about the process involved and an event we’re holding in April where interested drivers can learn from our team and hear what it’s like to be racing at the UK’s most iconic circuits. As ever, a huge thank you to everyone that has continued to support us, despite these challenging times. We would not be here without the help and belief we receive from our loyal sponsors and supporters and we can’t wait to do you proud on track this year.
Team BRIT Founder
IN THIS ISSUE: THE ROAD TO RACING Learn everything you need to know about how to become a racing driver.
THE CLASS OF 2021
2021 is set to be our biggest season yet. We’re returning to the Britcar Championship, entering drivers in its Endurance and Trophy categories.
BESPOKE TECH SOLUTIONS
Our technology levels the playing field for our drivers. With our hand controls, disabled drivers can race on level terms with able bodied drivers.
MANAGING A RACE SERIES IN A PANDEMIC We catch up with Managing Director of the Britcar Championship, Claire Hedley
SPONSOR FOCUS: DOUGLAS BADER FOUNDATION
Q&A with long-term team supporter, Dave Bickers, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of the Douglas Bader Foundation.
PLUS: WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
TEAMWEAR RANGE FROM IMB RACEWEAR
AUTISM SPOTLIGHT: MY SUPERPOWER
COULD YOU BE THE NEXT TEAM BRIT ROOKIE? Page 16
E TEAM BRIT SUMMER SERIES
5 QUESTIONS WITH JOSH SPENCER
g n i c a R THE ROAD TO
We receive regular enquiries from people wanting to know how to get started so here’s everything you need to know about the Route to Racing…
Photo by Darren S Cook
We’re proud to be opening the door to motorsport for disabled drivers. From our Racing Academy, giving people a taste of life on the race track, to owner / driver race support packages and bespoke tech solutions, right through to rookie development in our racing team, we’re making racing a reality for people with disabilities.
Racing can provide an adrenaline rush and surge of excitement that is difficult to match in any other sport. I’ve seen time and time again the look on the face of someone who’s just been driven round a race track in one of our cars for the first time and there’s nothing like it. They’re excited, pumped up and keen to go again! “Racing comes with risks, however, and whilst we want to open the door to as many disabled people as we can, health and safety has to be the number one priority so there are a number of processes to go through before securing your licence. Racing isn’t for everyone, but it’s much more accessible than you may think. “We work with disabled drivers with all kinds of disabilities to find solutions, and we’re always available to offer advice and to support you through the licensing process.
Team BRIT Founder
There’s more to getting started than simply applying for a licence. With safety considerations of paramount importance, the process involved in applying for and obtaining a race licence differs for able-bodied and disabled drivers. We can help you every step of the way. Here’s our recommended route to racing for disabled drivers Step 1 – try out on track Before you make any financial commitments, it’s a good idea to take part in a track day experience to get a feel for the race track. The Team BRIT Racing Academy offers professional coaching and tuition, with the use of the team’s world-leading hand controls at circuits across the country. A list of other organisations offering track days is listed below. Step 2 – Extraction video MSUK require evidence that you can remove yourself from a racing car, independently, within 10 seconds. This must be submitted to MSUK alongside your application so it’s worth attempting this before going any further. Step 3 – Medical assessment Undertake a medical assessment from an approved MSUK doctor. If they approve you as medically suitable to race, you’ll be eligible for a licence. Approximate cost: £100
Step 4 – MSUK starter pack Apply to MSUK for a starter pack which will outlines the administrative process involved in applying for a licence. Approximate cost: £100.
the country at tracks to suit you. Approximate cost: from £250 per session GO RACING!
Step 5 – Time on track Take part in a track day with coaching to refine your skills and learn from professional instructors. They will provide you with feedback on your racing ability and any areas for improvement. Approximate cost: £250 - £1000 Step 6 – ARDS test Undertake your Association of Racing Drivers Schools (ARDS) test at a track of your choice, assessed by an improved instructor. Step 8 – Race licence issued On receipt of your medial assessment and extraction video, and ARDS test certificate, MSUK will issue your official race ARDS licence. Step 9 – Get kitted out You’ll need approved racewear to safely race, including helmet, fire retardant race suit, gloves and boots. There are a number of providers dependent on your budget and needs. Approximate cost: £1500 Step 10 – learn from the best Regular coaching is the key to getting confident on track. Coaching is available all over
USEFUL LINKS Below are organisations that can support disabled drivers in accessing motorsport. Team BRIT does not endorse and is not linked to any of the organisations mentioned. Spinal Track Track days and rally experiences for disabled drivers Disability Motorsport Scotland Racing experiences for disabled drivers in Scotland Speed of Sight Driving experiences for blind and disabled people Raceability Motorsport Track day experiences for disabled drivers Limitless Motorsport Track day experiences for disabled drivers
THE ROUTE TO RACE LICENCE
UNAIDED EMERGENCY VEHICLE EVACUATION
MOTORSPORT UK STARTER PACK
TRACK DAY EXPERIENCE/S & COACHING
ARDS RACING DRIVER ASSESSMENT
£250 - £1,000
£240 - £290 £250 - £500 Car
RACE LICENCE ISSUED RACE COACHING
PURCHASE RACE WEAR from £1,000
Y O U R
O P P O R T U N I T Y
We’re on the lookout for the Team BRIT drivers of the future. If you’re interested in trying out for the team, email email@example.com. You can also find out more about some new entry level racing opportunities coming up this year on page 16.
the perfect partnership: Team BRIT & Brit Insurance
In late 2016, we saw one of Team BRIT’s drivers interviewed on TV. Their ambition, passion – and of course the Brit name – resonated strongly with us. A few months later, we launched our multi-year partnership with Team BRIT; not just to provide funding, but also to give our employees the chance to get to know the team and get involved. The business behind the logo
Driven to succeed
Brit is a global specialty insurance company. We are a leading syndicate of Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest specialist insurance market. Combining technical expertise with industry knowledge, we create bestin-class insurance solutions that help people and businesses face the future and thrive.
Both our organisations share the passion and pride that go with working as a team towards a common goal. Four years into our partnership, the journey with Team BRIT continues to be as exhilarating and rewarding as ever. We look forward to being part of its continued success, as the 2021 season gets underway.
Redefining what’s possible Like Team BRIT, our collaborative culture embraces difference. It empowers and enables talented individuals, whatever their background, to deliver outstanding results. We’re committed to growing the skills of every single employee; helping them fulfil their potential in a supportive, respectful and inclusive work environment.
To find out more about us visit: britinsurance.com and Linkedin
the perfect partnership: Team BRIT & Brit Insurance
Down in the dumps?
Struggling to cope?
Want to thrive...?
Team BRIT is the most inspirational team in motorsport and provides rehabilitation and confidence building for people with physical and mental health challenges.
Each driver has an inspirational story of how they have re-built their lives and come back from adversity to thrive! We provide online talks to motivate and inspire others to believe and achieve!
Our vision is to support, inspire and motivate people facing physical and psychological challenges by demonstrating what can be achieved through motorsport.
Topics can be tailored but can focus on thriving in the face of adversity, finding drive and ambition even when the odds are against you, and coping mechanisms during dark times.
Here’s what our clients at large international corporations say! Just wanted to say a big thank you for your event today, I really enjoyed it (though I have to admit to shedding a few tears too!). Nerys was a great speaker: inspirational, moving, funny and so much herself. I am going to steal one of the things she said: If you don’t take the chance, you lose the chance Really inspirational individuals demonstrating mental and physical resilience. Thanks very much for sharing your experiences.
Amazing team. You are all so inspirational showing us that there are no barriers to achieving your goals. I’m glad I joined this event. Nerys, well done, you are amazing your talk is so inspiring it really makes you think again about what is possible and I am going to channel your quote ‘be the best you can be’ thank you so much for speaking to us today. You are an inspiration. Thank you. I’m a bit speechless after hearing your story.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how we can inspire and motivate your team
Photo by Darren S Cook
THE CLASS OF 2021 2021 is set to be our biggest season yet. We’re returning to the Britcar Championship, entering drivers in its Endurance and Trophy Categories. The season kicks off after a delayed start on the 24th and 25th April at Silverstone.
T H E
L I N E U P
V8 VA N TAG E GT4
BOBBY TRUNDLEY Bobby returns to the team for his third season and his second as a GT4 driver. Teaming up with Aaron Morgan, Bobby will look to improve on his impressive performance to date which saw him collect Driver of the Day and fastest lap trophies last year. Bobby is also competing in the British GT eSports Championship, racing against pro racers from around the world. Bobby was diagnosed with severe autism at 4 years old and calls it his ‘superpower’ on the racetrack.
AARON MORGAN Aaron is one of our most experienced racers having competed in the BMW Compact Cup before joining the team last year. He raced part of the 2020 season in the Aston and will return to the GT4 this year with Bobby. Aaron was the youngest disabled person to achieve a National B Race Licence and is set to smash expectations once again in 2021. Aaron is a paraplegic having broken his spine in a motocross accident in 2006.
This is Matty’s second year with the team and his second season racing in the Trophy Category of the Britcar Championship. This year he teams up once again with Andy Tucker in the newly built BMW M240i. Matty lives and breathes motorsport, running five successful karting businesses including TeamKarting in Rochdale, the UK’s highest rated indoor kart track. Matty was diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia and Asperger’s (a form of autism) when he was at school and has now helped numerous autistic children into karting.
Andrew is looking to build on his incredible rookie year with the team which saw him getting quicker with every race. Andrew will return to the Trophy Category of the Britcar Championship, racing in the custom built BMW M240i, and hopes to bring home more silverware with Matty Street after 3 podium finishes last year. Andrew has limb disabilities and mental health challenges after being hit from his motorbike in 2013.
Luke will race our BMW 118 in the Trophy Category this year, after his rookie season in 2020. Teaming up with Nerys, Luke is looking to build on a solid start to racing last year, which saw him gain in experience and confidence. 31-year-old Luke broke all five nerves in his left arm in a motorbike accident in 2011 which has left him with no movement in his left hand and very little movement in his left arm.
Ex Army medic Nerys aims to become the fastest female disabled racer in the world. She started with the team as a complete rookie last year and got 2 races under her belt. Now, coached by pro-driver Abbie Eaton, she’s looking to hone her skills and expertise as a racing driver and will team up with Luke Pound in the BMW 118 this year. Nerys is paralysed from the chest down following treatment for injuries caused by a motorbike accident in 2008. Nerys also hopes to swim the channel for charity, BLESMA this summer.
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We’re excited to launch our latest range of teamwear, thanks to new merchandise partner, IMB Racewear. Now, fans and supporters of the team can feel part of the action, with access to a dedicated shop selling Team BRIT polos, hoodies and jackets. Joining the team for the first time, IMB Racewear, which supplies bespoke team clothing for sim and track racing, along with top of the range sim racing hardwear, has created a full bespoke range of branded kit for our drivers and crew. The new racewear has been unveiled as part of the lead up to the start of the 2021 race season, which will see six drivers racing in the Endurance and Trophy categories of the Britcar Championship. Iain Berryman, CEO of IMB Racewear said: “I am delighted to partner with Team BRIT in 2021. We are very proud of who we work with and Team BRIT is such an inspirational team with an incredible mission. Their team and drivers are role models and proof that you can always achieve, if you believe. It’s an honour and a real pleasure to be able to work together and I look forward to developing the start of an exciting partnership in 2021 and beyond.”
Team BRIT Commercial Director Mike Scudamore said, “It’s really important for us to have the right kit both on and off the track. We’re a professional, competitive team, like every other team on the grid and our branding is extremely important to us. “IMB have been very generous in offering us a full range of teamwear for our drivers and crew, ensuring that we continue to be instantly recognisable in the paddock for our high quality kit. We’re supported by a huge team of sponsors who each help us reach our goals. We’re very proud and grateful to have IMB on board this year and hope that lots of our supporters will be arriving trackside this year in their fantastic new kit.”
The Team BRIT racewear can be purchased online at www.imbracewear.com/collections/team-brit-2021
BESPOKE TECH SOLUTIONS Our technology levels the paying field for our drivers. With our hand controls, disabled drivers can race on level terms with able bodied drivers. Our team drivers aren’t the only ones benefitting from this. We create bespoke tech solutions for racers all over the country who are competing in a range of series in a wide variety of racing cars. Here are the stories of just some of the clients who are racing thanks to Team BRIT tech. If you’d like to find out more about how our tech can support you on the race track, email email@example.com.
C A S E
PAUL ROWLANDS In 2008, four years after a severe quad racing accident that left him paralysed from the waist, Paul Rowlands returned to the same spot the crash happened, at a beach race in Weston-Super-Mare. “I needed to get it out of my system,” he said.
Name: Paul Rowlands Disability: Paralysed from waist down Racing series: British Cross Country Series Car: Polaris RZR Rally
A couple of years after his accident, Paul, the owner of Par Homes, was keen to get back to the track, and purchased a Polaris 800 buggy. “But the hand controls were the same as driving, so it was a struggle to be competitive,” he said.
Such a severe accident would have put many off racing for life, but Paul has never left the sport which he fell in love with as a child. Paul began his pursuit of motorsport at 10-years-old as a motocross racer. In his early 20s he moved to quad bikes, becoming British champion across a number of disciplines.
Paul even developed his own hand controls over the years, but realised they wouldn’t be compatible with the rally or Ultra 4 events he wished to participate in, which would involve stopping a car weighing nearly two tonnes with the equivalent of motorbike brakes.
Soon after his accident, he worked with Honda, running their motocross team in the UK for seven years, leading the team to 27 British Championship titles.
He then discovered the Team BRIT system which allows drivers to effortlessly control the vehicle using hands alone, and solved the problem he had faced in finding
waterproof solutions that could withstand the off-road races he competes in. The controls are now in Paul’s Polaris RZR and the Lofthouse rally car which he will race in the British Cross Country series this year, which sees 40 competitors racing down forestry trails. He’ll also compete in two-day competition safaris on farmland. With a packed year of racing ahead, the controls have also been added to Paul’s bespokebuilt racing buggy and Ultra 4 car. Paul said: “I’m new to the controls but they’ll give me the confidence to push the car to its limits, knowing that I can stop the car. Sometimes I’ve got myself in a mess going too fast with brakes that aren’t good enough. So hopefully these will give me the competitive edge, and I won’t have to hold back. I want to be winning; I’ll be disappointed if I’m not.”
C A S E
RYA N A S H M A N 22-year-old Ryan Ashman, a former Team BRIT rookie, was racing his motocross bike in 2015 when he crashed, breaking his T6 and T7 spinal vertebrae, causing him to be paralysed from the chest down. After the accident he was air lifted to Southmead Hospital where he underwent spinal surgery and had two metal rods inserted into his spine. After six weeks of bedrest he was taken to Salisbury Hospital Spinal Unit where he spent six months, learning how to live as a wheelchair user. Having spent some time with Team BRIT in 2020, Ryan left to continue with his work in IT and to gain experience on the track.
C A S E
Name: Ryan Ashman Disability: Disability: Spinal injury
Race Engineer Al Locke fitted the Team BRIT hand controls into his personal track car, a BMW M3 E46. Ryan also purchased the team’s BMW 116, which was used to race in the 116 Trophy in 2020. Now, Ryan will use the controls as he participates in track days to gain experience before exploring racing options next year. He says: “The hand controls help with being competitive on track. With the standard push/pull system I was using before, I felt I was at a disadvantage. Now, there’s nothing holding
3 Name: Lewis Meldrum Disability: Spinal cord injury Racing Series: Javelin Sprint
LEWIS MELDRUM For many people, a total spinal cord injury would signal the end of racing. But Lewis Meldrum’s passion for motorsport, which started at the age of just ten, is still strong. Now, with the introduction of our world-leading hand control technology, he is able to compete on a level playing field. Lewis raced pit bikes and supermotos on tracks all over the country as a teenager, progressing to bigger and faster machines, culminating in racing super-sport 600s. But when he was 19 he suffered a horrific accident at Oulton Park circuit during a race. The accident, which paralysed him from the waist down, happened on island bend; “not exactly the best place to crash,” Lewis said.
me back and it’s just down to me to become as competitive as I can.”
But it hasn’t deterred the 24-yearold who uses Team BRIT’s hand control system to race, having heaed about it at track days.
Lewis is a customer manager and admin clerk for a tuning company called Performance Centre, and works locally in Sunderland.
Lewis said: “It gives me a lot more control as I can keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times. And it allows me to race ablebodied drivers on an even playing field. “The system seems complex when you start but soon feels very natural after you’ve used them a few times. For the ultimate controls to allow you to race able bodied people, look no further.” Lewis hopes to take part in further Javelin Sprint series events this year, and hopefully some UK time attack too, if he gets his licence.
A U T I S M
S P O T L I G H T
MY SUPERPOWER The 29th March saw the start of Autism Awareness Week 2021, and as part of this, Team BRIT driver Bobby Trundley tells the story of what he considers to be his ‘superpower’.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find employment within the motor vehicle industry because my dyspraxia makes me too slow and clumsy with the tools.
I was born with a superpower. I didn’t know it for the majority of my life because I thought my Autism was more of a curse than a gift.
Teachers might have been frustrated with me, the bullies laughed at me but through it all I knew I had something they didn’t. I had my superpower. Outside of school and college I was a winner. I was winning races and making friends because of my racing. To this day I still struggle to talk about many things and finding the right words is still a cause of anxiety to me but when it comes to my racing the words flow. I can listen and learn because my mind doesn’t wander when I’m talking about real racing not just dreams.
I couldn’t get the words that were in my head to come out because when I tried to speak they would come out wrong, so I gave up. I would get angry and frustrated because I couldn’t say how I felt, what I needed and what I wanted to do. It made me anxious so I would take myself away and find my own world with the things I loved the most, my toy cars. Starting school was the hardest thing for me. I didn’t speak well and found it hard to make friends. Playtime couldn’t come quick enough. The toy cars would come out of my bag and the quiet corner of the playground would become my race track. I would spend every school hour dreaming of cars. I couldn’t get them out of my head. When I was ten I was invited to a karting party, I really wanted to go but I was petrified. When I arrived I became overwhelmed with all the children, the noise inside the building and the smell of the karts. My senses were in overload and I ran for the door refusing to go back in. My friend’s mum asked if I could have a go in a kart when all the children were having a break. After much persuasion I went back inside and discovered the very thing I had been searching for. A sense of freedom, calm and control. When the helmet went on my head the noise and the smells faded away. My anxiety calmed and I was able to listen to what I wanted to hear…how to drive that kart. That afternoon I won my first race. Not in my dreams, not with a toy car but with my own skill. I found my courage, I had control and I felt free. I found my superpower and I will never let it go. It’s who I am and what drives me to be the best I can be. Secondary school passed in a haze of anxiety. There were bullies, there was pressure and there was a deep sadness that I would never fit in. College was pretty much the same but I passed my Level three motor vehicle studies despite my dyspraxia.
I became a five times national kart racing champion. In 2014 I became a Ginneta Junior Scholarship finalist out of 60 participants. I had only sat in the car three times. In 2016 I was awarded the Anna Kennedy OBE Autism Hero Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sport. In 2017 I was awarded the INAP Award for Excellence in sport at the ANCA World Autism Festival in Vancouver and in 2018 I received the Disabled Motoring UK Young Achiever Award. I specialise in endurance racing because of my ability to consistently put in fast laps within tenths of a second over and over again. I have taken part in many charity kart racing events because people have asked me to be part of their team. It gives me great satisfaction to be able to use my skills and be part of something which helps others. It was because of one of the charity kart racing events that I became part of the fantastic Team BRIT. I was racing in the Damon Hill Karting Challenge in aid of the “Halow Project” when Warren McKinlay who was one of the top racers with Team BRIT spotted me and introduced me to Dave Player the founder of Team BRIT. I was invited for test drive to see if I could become part of the team. My test day was a success and Dave invited me to join the team. With the
united effort of the whole team in front and behind the scenes, I went on to win four out of five races in my first year racing cars. I am now racing the team’s beautiful Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 in the Britcar Endurance Series. All this from the boy who was told he would never be allowed to drive a car on the road because of his autism to where I am today. Never accept the words of doubters. If you know you can do something prove them wrong, find people who believe in you and you will achieve. I have learnt how to speak and give talks in front of an audience. The biggest challenge being in 2019 when the team was invited to the British Formula One Championship at Silverstone to share our stories with 1500 guests. I was extremely nervous but I did it. Never in a million years did I ever think I would tell my story at the home of British motor racing in front of some of the most influential people in motorsport. In January this year I took part with my teammate Aaron Morgan in an online talk for a leading global insurance provider with more than 900 employees attending. Aaron and I talked about the challenges we face gaining employment and within the workplace. The feedback from our talks are always positive and I feel we are being listened to and inspiring change. It has spurred me on to inspire others on the autistic spectrum who are able to be a voice for those who can’t. Not bad for someone who couldn’t string a full sentence together until secondary school. My dream has always been to be part of a team and race in the Le Mans 24hr endurance race. This dream is shared with Team BRIT who want to be the first all disabled team to race there. I feel honoured to be part of their journey and have no doubt dreams can come true with hard work, belief and sheer determination, these things all of us in the team share. I have found my superpower and from my gift I hope to help others find theirs. Bobby Trundley, Racing Driver
From family cars to racing cars KEEP GOING
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CO U L D YO U B E T H E N E X T
TEAM BRIT ROOKIE?
We’re always looking for the Team BRIT stars of the future. There’s more to being a team member than getting a race licence and turning up for a race. We thrive on our team ethos and a sense of camaraderie that’s difficult to match anywhere else. We also work together to deliver on the generous sponsorship packages our partners supply. Later this year, we’ll be launching new opportunities for grassroots racing for disabled drivers looking to experience their first taste of racing. Short, safe sprintstyle races will be on offer, supported by full coaching and technical support. No race licence will be required so it’s the perfect way for you to see if racing could be for you, whilst getting a full assessment from our team of experts. To register for more information on these opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PROUD TO BE ON BOARD WITH
MANAGING A RACE SERIES IN A PANDEMIC The Covid pandemic sent many industries into disarray and motorsport was no exception. Months of planning for races and events had to be scrapped or changed and new regulations meant that life at the track was different than ever before. We caught up with Managing Director of the Britcar Championship, Claire Hedley to hear how she’s coped with running a race series during a global pandemic, and her views on how the motorsport industry has gone from strength to strength, even in the most challenging of years. How long have you been involved with Britcar? I’ve been involved for 20 years. I run the company with my brother, who although isn’t involved in the day to day running of the business, is my ‘go to’ for support and advice. How did involved?
We were due to have our best season ever in 2020 and there was a lot of excitement around the championship. Then the pandemic hit and it was such a shock to the system. Fortunately, Motorsport UK (MSUK) the governing body were brilliant. They have kept us informed throughout and were determined to get us back racing. How did you get back to the track?
I was working as a secretary for British Racing and Sports Car Club (BRSCC) and so met the previous owners, James Tucker and John Veness. I offered them administrative support and started as a PA, then took on the running of events, and it’s just grown from there. I was involved in setting up the first 24-hour race which was incredible and a race format I still love to this day. Have you always been interested in motorsport? Yes, it’s a great passion of mine. I was introduced to it through my Dad, and in my early 20s I started going to track days with him. I did compete for about 10-15 years, but now as a parent, I don’t have the time or money! I need to thank my poor children who put up with me being on the phone 24/7 talking ‘Britcar’ and are very proud of me, as I am them. What other roles have led you to this one? I used to work as an instructor on experience days through companies such as Red Letter Days. I have worked for Ferrari, Porsche and Mercedes as well as Thruxton Motorsport Centre, where I was based for 10 years.
How has lockdown affected the business?
A lot of planning and replanning the season. Last year we moved to five events instead of six and tried to get as much track time as possible for customers. Luckily, we haven’t lost many teams and despite what we’ve faced, we’ve had a very successful year. What were the most noticeable changes that you had to make? We supplied Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in our pit lane including gloves and face masks, so all our staff were protected, and it became mandatory for teams and drivers to wear this at all times. We also adhered to social distancing rules and followed all the necessary guidelines. No inside catering was a big change. We also couldn’t carry out driver’s briefings or presentations which is a great shame, because you lose the personal touch which I love. We’ve introduced extended pit stops from 90 seconds to two minutes to give teams time to wipe down the cars. We also can’t have any presentations at the moment, but we hope by round three or four this year they’ll be back as I think they’re important for participants. Overall, we were lucky to be in an industry that could go back.
Were there any major setbacks? The championship as a business didn’t suffer, but the postponement of the race at Spa hit us hardest. We were also supposed to be the support race for the World Endurance Championship (WEC) at a time when no one could travel. A lot of people weren’t prepared to take the risk which is understandable, so we lost more than half the grid. That was definitely the biggest financial hit. But we have a great relationship with WEC and we’ll be back for 2022. Incredibly, we’ve survived and in some respects, thrived. How are you preparing for future events? We’re waiting for the latest rules from MSUK but it’s looking good for the year. We know there will be regulations in place, and we are positive that we will have a safe environment for drivers and staff, based on all the measures we put in place last year. As soon as we are given the guidelines, we will make any additional changes necessary. Why do you think you are so popular? We listen. We started doing long races for two hours and it wasn’t
right for the market, so we changed our format. We follow regulations and every team knows that rules are rules, but we also listen to our customers. At the moment, we don’t have the numbers wanting longer endurance races but that may change and if it does, we can react. For the first time in our 20year history, we’re turning teams away as we’re so full. I hate doing this as I’m so passionate about welcoming people to our races, but we’re limited by track capacity. We may eventually set up another grid or split championships to allow us to include even more people. Why do you think motorsport has managed to have continued success throughout COVID-19? The pandemic has been awful for a lot of people and so many have been hit by loss which is something that will take a long time to recover from. Incredibly, our industry, at least from my perspective, has done extremely well regardless, and every grid I know has been hit with success. I think because people can’t go on holiday and because they’ve been indoors, they want to get out and enjoy themselves. We are also very active on our social media channels and people see us as the
Photo by Darren S Cook
TEAM BRIT WILL BE RUNNING THREE CARS IN THIS YEARS BRITCAR CHAMPIONSHIPS
championship to get involved in. We hope that long-term it stays that way. We also have incredible volunteers, and particularly my media team, Chris Valentine and Steve Wood who help make the events possible and bring the championship to people’s attention. Do you have a message to this year’s competitors? I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me and all those that have come back to our championship time and time again. They have a choice of championship to go to, there are others doing the same, but we have the best package. It’s a great price, a great opportunity, with a great atmosphere. I’m privileged and honoured to be part of it and I can’t wait to get back with Team Britcar this year. Find out more about Britcar at www.britcar-endurance.com
SUMMER SERIES Season Three of the eTeam BRIT GT Challenge will take place between July 2021 and February 2022, using the Assetto Corsa Competizione platform on PC. 40 spaces are available, with all drivers competing in GT3 machinery, with Drivers’ and Team’s championships. Prizes will be available. All relevant DLC content, including British GT and Intercontinental GT Challenge content, must be downloaded in order to compete. R1
26 Jul 2021
23 Aug 2021
20 Sept 2021
18 Oct 2021
15 Nov 2021
13 Dec 2021
10 Jan 2022
7 Feb 2022
Celebrate a new racing season with a high-octane watch on your wrist. Choose your favourite watch from our regular collections and receive 15% discount.
VISIT TWSTEEL.COM TO EXPLORE AND USE CODE TEAMBRIT15 FOR THE DISCOUNT
• 30 min free practice • 30 min qualifying • 60 min race (30s minimum pitstop) • Pitstop window - opens at 40 mins to go – open for only 20 mins
COST TO ENTER: £40 per driver. Liveries will be fixed for the season. Car choice will be fixed for the season, with no more than three teams being able to use the same car. All races will be professionally live streamed by Simply Race in association with Simsport Solutions with expert commentary once again from Alex Goldschmidt & David Christie. For more information email email@example.com
WITH TEAM BRIT MECHANIC JOSH SPENCER What does your day-to-day work for the team involve? I help ensure all the cars are fit for the track. I’m based at the Dunsfold workshop where we inspect the cars, carry out any repairs and do everything we can to improve them as much as possible. Before we leave for races, tests or events, all cars get a new wheel alignment set-up specifically for that track, and we make sure the cars and their spares are loaded on to our race truck along with our tools and equipment. When we’re at the track we ensure the cars are running faultlessly and keep an eye on things such as fluid levels and fuel, whilst also making sure the drivers feel comfortable in the car. How have you been preparing for the return to racing? We have been working tirelessly to ensure the cars are as good as they can be for the season ahead, whilst also building the new M240I. Why did you choose to work with Team BRIT over other racing teams? I chose to work with Team BRIT as they give as much as they can to ensure people from all backgrounds have a fair chance. They took on the challenge to develop hand controls for disabled drivers, not only to provide a technical solution, but because it was the right thing to do. I want to show my support for everything the team is about and do my bit to help. What are your predictions for the team this year? I think the team will do very well this year. The cars are very competitive, and I know the drivers have been doing what they can to get race ready despite lockdown. As a team, we’ll all be bringing the drive and enthusiasm to bring back some silverware. What are you most looking forward to when restrictions lift? 2020 was my first season in motorsport, and it was definitely an interesting first year! I can’t wait to see spectators back trackside as that will bring an incredible atmosphere.
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FOUND OUT MORE W W W. D AY T O N A . C O . U K
S P O N S O R
F O C U S
DOUGLAS BADER FOUNDATION In this edition’s Sponsor Focus, we catch up with long-term team supporter, Dave Bickers, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of the Douglas Bader Foundation. Q: Tell us a little bit about the Foundation and the amazing work it does Douglas Bader was my stepfather in law. I married into the family in 1976 – Douglas died in October 1982 - aged 72, much to our complete surprise and great loss. Douglas was my first real experience of being up close and personal to an amputee, in fact he was a double amputee. He was completely comfortable in his own skin, self-sufficient, determined and in control of his life - living it to the full. He was flying planes, playing golf, supporting many charities, dropping in on hospital wards and visiting disabled people he read about – a truly remarkable man. The word ‘Inspiration’, was widely used to describe Douglas following his death in 1982, and the mantra “a disabled person who fights back is not disabled,” a quote from Douglas, was something that we, as his immediate family, wanted to continue in the form of a charity in his name. The Douglas Bader Foundation (DBF) is now approaching its 40th year. DBF exists to advance and promote the physical, mental and spiritual welfare of people who are born without or have lost one or more limbs, or who are otherwise physically disabled. We also extended our remit to include support to adults and children who suffer from a diagnosed mental health issue.
Our role is to focus on the positives by creating and providing inspirational solutions. Just a small example include our ‘BADER BRAVES’ children’s activities – flying, sailing, go karting and camping days and our opportunities for adults through TEAM BADER such as cycling, hiking challenges and on the water experiences.
Q: How long have you been a supporter of Team BRIT? We go back a long time to KartForce days. I was approached by Dave to support the cost of hand controls for a Jaguar XFS, so a team of injured troops could race in mainstream events. The hand controls meant that the racers, some of whom were double-amputees, could compete on a totally level playing field. In 2019, we supported four disabled drivers giving them the opportunity to pass their racing certificates on simulators and a modified Golf. And in 2020, we supported Nerys Pearce with a personalised seat, giving her the opportunity to start racing for the first time. Q: Why did you decide to partner with the team?
Q: How have you been affected by the Covid pandemic? Sadly, we had to cancel all our normal outdoor events this year. However we launched an amazing campaign in November to raise funds to provide children in the UK with upper arm limb difference with a free low cost flexible prosthetic created by a former grant recipient. We have sent the product to 150 children with 250 on our waiting list who will receive theirs over the next weeks.
I wanted us to have a greater involvement, both because of my admiration for Dave and the whole team both in car and out, who make all this happen – and their commitment to keep moving forward towards their goals – it is inspirational. Q: What message would you like to give the drivers this year? To quote Douglas: “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men”. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, then have a go at everything.
Free online event telling you everything you need to know about become a disabled racing driver
M P 7 , L I R P A 9 MONDAY 1 TH
The Team BRIT story • The tech • Driver profiles How to get a licence • Q&A session
To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org