Lewis Hamilton’s younger brother, Nicolas, is working with an all-disabled racing team hoping to contest the famous Le Mans 24 Hours race this year.
Team BRIT is aiming to progress up the endurance ladder with two former British servicemen who were injured on active duty. Martyn Compton was badly burned when his tank took a direct hit in Iraq, and Ash Hall — a silver medalist in the Invictus Games founded by Prince Harry — lost both legs from an IED explosion in Afghanistan.
Nicolas Hamilton, who has cerebral palsy and this year will race in the British Touring Car championship, helped launch the team’s new racing academy — which is aimed at getting more disabled people in motor racing — on Monday. The team is also sponsored by Chris Martin, the frontman of rock band Coldplay, and has 1996 Formula One champion Damon Hill listed as a patron.
It was founded by Dave Player, another former serviceman, in 2009. His team expanded to endurance car racing in 2015 and is currently looking to work its way from the GT4 category to Le Mans, the most famous sports car race in the world, which takes on June 15-16 this year.
Player says the purpose of Team BRIT has changed massively since its inception.
“Originally it was just for injured troops but I get enquiries all day, every day, from disabled people saying, ‘How can I get into motorsport?'” Player told Reuters. “So last year we decided to open up our doors to everybody. Anybody with a disability that ticks the right boxes can be eligible to join our race team.”
Speaking at the launch of the academy, Nicolas Hamilton said: “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.”
Hamilton has already confirmed he will return to racing in the British Touring Car championship this year.