Press Release from TEAM BRIT, 16 February 2017
Market-leading global speciality insurer, Brit Insurance, has announced its partnership with Team BRIT - a motor racing team of injured ex troops.
Today, Thursday February 16th, Brit announced its support of the team, launching a multi-year deal that will kickstart their journey to the pinnacle of endurance motorsport.
Team BRIT aims to be the first ever team of all-disabled drivers to compete in Le Mans in 2020, a feat they will achieve after progressing through racing series starting with the Fun Cup in 2017.
Brit has embarked on a corporate partnership with the team, which will not only involve significant funding for the team, but will enable staff across the organisation to donate their time to help with the staging of events and administration of the team’s business.
At a launch event today, Team BRIT was unveiled to staff in a surprise announcement at the end of a briefing event. Staff met the team drivers and were able to spend time speaking with the team and exploring their fully liveried #158 Fun Cup car.
Team BRIT’s patrons and Formula 1 legends, Damon Hill OBE and Johnny Herbert also attended a drink’s reception to give their support.
The team’s four drivers are all ex or serving troops that have sustained serious physical or mental injuries and are disabled. They are:
24-year-old Andy Searle from Torquay who lost both his legs, his right hip and two fingers after being hit by the blast of an IED whilst serving in Afghanistan in 2011. Andy was a rifleman and was deployed to provide protection to a search team when he was severely injured by the blast. To date, he has undergone more than 50 surgical operations.
32-year-old Tony Williams from St Helens in Lancashire, who was shot six times whilst serving as a medic in Afghanistan in 2010. A Corporal in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps, he was critically wounded and told he had paraplegia and was unlikely to father children. He can now walk and is the proud father of two.
34-year-old Jimmy Hill from Bournemouth who was shot five times in the leg whilst serving in Afghanistan as a sergeant in the Royal Marines. Jimmy has made a full recovery but lives with a semi-paralysed ‘dropped foot’. He is still serving in the marines but based at Headley Court Military Rehabilitation Centre.
35-year-old Warren McKinlay from Braintree in Essex who was involved in a motorbike collision in 2005 whilst serving as a recovery mechanic in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Warren suffered a broken back, broken pelvis and traumatic brain injury resulting in him suffering from ‘walking corpse syndrome’, making him believe he was dead and living in purgatory.
The drivers compete against able-bodied drivers on a completely level playing field. Advanced hand control technology allows drivers who have injured legs or feet to compete.
The team will compete in the Fun Cup series this year, including the 25 Hour race at Spa-Francorchamps in July, before progressing to racing in GT4 and GT3 series in 2017 and 2018.
The team is a branch of KartForce, a charity set up to inspire, challenge and motivate injured ex-troops through motorsport. It aims to show injured military personnel that they can achieve what they never thought possible, that they can compete at the highest level, and to equip them with a wide range of personal and professional skills through understanding the business of motorsport.
Team Brit and KartForce founder Dave Player said, “Our partnership with Brit, along with our other sponsors, will allow us to move forward towards our ultimate goal of competing with the world’s best endurance drivers.
“Team BRIT is all about providing opportunities for injured troops like no other. These people have been through trauma that the majority of us could not imagine, and deserve the chance to compete at the highest level like anyone else.
"We want to provide them with this opportunity but also to show them how the business of motorsport works. We are not a charity, they have to work for their seat like any other team driver and partnerships with organisations such as Brit help us provide this professional learning. We’re also delighted that Brit staff will be helping us out by volunteering at our events throughout the season.”
Team BRIT’s season begins on Saturday 8th April at the opening race of the Fun Cup series at Silverstone.