Alive To Drive
Recently, I had the good fortune to stumbled upon Team Brit Racing on social media. What a wonderful discovery they were. A British Racing Team, hoping to compete competitively in LeMans 24 hours. Think that’s great? Well, you haven’t heard the best part of their story yet. The team will be injured veterans who, regardless to their injuries and adversities are competing against able-bodied drivers on a totally level playing field. You will see from their recent results below that they are doing a pretty job with it!
Their aim is to inspire people with disabilities, PTSD and mental health issues by demonstrating what can be achieved through motorsport. Racing has indeed given many something to focus their energy on and is helping to re-shift focus on what can be done, instead of focusing on what can’t.
They are inspiring members of the disabled community by showing them what can be achieved even in the face of adversity. Not only are they rebuilding confidence but they are constantly finding and developing new ways to adapt to disability in order to ensure that all who wish to participate are able to. It is a truly inspiring project which will undoubtedly filter into providing a more positive personal life as well as an outlet to show potential employers of their values.
- 18th Apr 2015 Endurance Racing Series - 3hr
Rockingham P1 in Class
4th Jul 2015 360 MRC - 6hr
Snetterton P1 in Class
25th Jul 2015 Britcar – MSA British Dunlop Endurance Championship - 90 mins
Donington National P1 in Class
26th Jul 2015 Britcar Trophy Championships - 2 x 45 mins
Donington National Race 1: P1 in Class, P5 Overall
Race 2: P1 in Class, P5 Overall
2nd Aug 2015 Endurance Racing Series & 360MRC - 3hr
Donington P1 in class
30th Aug 2015 Britcar - MSA British Dunlop Endurance Championship - 2 x 90 mins
Snetterton 300 Race 1: P5 in Class
Race 2: P2 in Class
3rd Oct 2015 Britcar Trophy - 2 x 45 mins
Thruxton Race 1: P1 in Class
Race 2: P1 in Class, P5 Overall
24th Oct 2015 Birkett Relay – 6hr
Silverstone 12th Overall
Drivers Martyn, Mark and founder Dave took some time from their training to answer a few questions.
Dave Player, Founder - Team Brit Racing
How did this team form?
After 5 years of team endurance kart racing, with over 40 races each year, including 10 x 24hr kart races, the lads wanted to step up to team endurance car racing. After long discussions, it was agreed the lads would need to develop as drivers – both on and off the track – and work for their seats in races.
We’ve started an academy to teach them the business skills that go along with being a successful racing driver and this is working out really well. The lads no longer see themselves as charity cases expecting to get to race without doing any work. They are partly responsible for generating sponsorship and raising the funds so they can go racing. These life skills will assist them in whatever path they choose in life.
Your social hashtag is #AliveToDrive, who came up with this and why?
As each lad has died and been brought back from death – Martyn 3 times – the hashtag #AliveToDrive perfectly explains what they’re all about. They live to race – they’re alive to drive.
What first sparked your interest in this particular field?
It’s a natural progression from what the lads have been doing and doing really well. They much prefer the longer races rather than all the hype and build up for a 15 min sprint race.
Why did you feel motorsport was the best outlet for your ambitions?
I organised a kart race in 2002 for drivers injured in the sport and it was mostly paraplegics from across the full range of disciplines. When I set up KartForce in 2010 we were aiming at providing injured troops with a new and exciting leisure activity. We started to aim higher and higher as it became apparent that some of the lads had the serious racing bug and wanted to race in mainstream events.
And now we’re aiming for the Le Mans 24hr!
How did you find your drivers?
All Team BRIT drivers come from the ranks of KartForce. Lads have to cut their teeth and develop their racing skills in karts and when they’re ready,
they are invited to step up.
You’ve recently announced Coldplay as a sponsor, how did that come about?
Chris Martin is from the same area as Martyn Compton so when their local paper wrote about Martyn and Team BRIT, Chris read the article and picked up the phone. The funny thing was, we thought it was Mark playing joke on us and it took us 3 weeks to work out this was actually Chris Martin. When we had lunch with the band we told them the story and we had a good laugh. Chris told us it happens all the time – he’ll be in a lift and someone will say, “You look just like that fella from Coldplay…. What’s his name?”
You’ve amassed a number of impressive sponsors, how do you feel about the support you’ve received thus far on your journey?
You can imagine what sponsor thought when we first told them that we had a new team of injured troops that were stepping up from karting straight into National Level racing, by passing a year of Club Level racing. But we won them over, race by race. When the lads had competed in 6 races and had won all 6, this started to capture people’s attention. For a team of Rookies, they were expect to crash and DNF more times than get on the podium, so to pull of this string of victories was impressing sponsors.
We want to keep up this accelerated momentum so we can look at being eligible to compete in the Le Mans 24hr as soon as possible. This can only happen with support from sponsors.
What has been, in your opinion, the most rewarding moment to come from founding this team?
The lads don’t know how impressive they are. They don’t appreciate how well respected they are. They are now starting to blossom with self-confidence as they start to realise how far they have come – thanks purely to their amazing levels of determination and commitment.
Martyn Compton, Driver
What are your expectations for 2016? Finish 2015 season and push to gain enough sponsors/support to be able to step up and continue our project goal for 2017/18
What’s been the hardest part of your journey so far? Becoming an all-round driver and being able to speak to the right people.
What’s been the best part of your journey? Having our car on form as it now is.
Your aim is to compete in Le Mans, when do you envisage this by? 2017/18 - When we have the correct licence and experience behind us, along with the right backing!
What has been the most memorable on track moment, good or bad? My first race at Rockingham getting a P1.
What's the most important quality required to succeed? Being an all- round driver, gaining the skills needed both on track and off!
Who is your biggest professional inspiration? Damon Hill
Who is your biggest personal inspiration? Nicky Lauda
What's the best advice you've received so far? Don't look back always look forward.
What would be the ultimate driving experience for you and why? To drive an LMP car and race in the Le Mans 24hr and reach our goal!
If you weren't competing in the series, what would you likely be doing? Competing in a different series but still with the same end goal!
What do your family and friends think about your achievements? Very supportive and proud of what i have achieved.
What's your favorite track to race on? Thruxton,a very fast track.
When you’re not on track, how do you spend your down time? Training in the gym and keeping myself active, getting ready for the next race and finding sponsors.
What would you like to say to anyone who is feeling engulfed by their own personal battle right now? Get yourself out there and give it a try, there is always somebody in a worse situation. If I can do then so can you!!
How can we help you to achieve your ambition? Help us gain the necessary sponsors and support required for us to step up and follow our goal of showing others with some kind of disability that if you put your mind to something anything is still possible!
Mark Allen, Driver
What are your expectations for 2016? At the end of 2015 to the beginning of the 2016 we need to gain enough support to continue our journey to Le mans
What’s been the hardest part of your journey so far? Getting sponsorship
What’s been the best part of your journey? As a double amputee and being able to race against abled bodied drivers and beating then while using hand controls.
You aim is to compete in Le Mans, when do you envisage this by? 2017/2018
What has been the most memorable on track moment, good or bad? My first race at Donnington park, Qualifying was in the dry then for the race the heavens opened and my first race was in wet so was pretty nervous.
What's the most important quality required to succeed? Having the ability to be an all round good driver on the track and off the track.
Who is your biggest professional inspiration? Valentino Rossi Professional Moto Gp rider
What's the best advice you've received so far? Never give up, always look forward for your next big challenge
What would be the ultimate driving experience for you and why? To race in the 24hr Le Mans race
If you weren't competing in the series, what would you likely be doing? Doing a different race series.
What do your family and friends think about your achievements? They are all very proud of everything i have done and achieved so fare.
What's your favorite track to race on? Thruxton
When you’re not on track, how do you spend your down time?Training and getting ready for the next race and trying to find sponsors.
What would you like to say to anyone who is feeling engulfed by their own personal battle? Right now? Never give up on life, and try and give everything ago, nothing is impossible
How can we help you to achieve your ambition? Help us find the necessary sponsorship to be able to rich our go to race at Le Mans.
They are British and proud. British racing car, British engineering and British injured troops and they need the support of us, the British public to help fuel their unwavering determination and spirit.