TECHNICAL INNOVATION REVOLUTIONISES DISABILITY MOTORSPORT
The Team BRIT car racing team are getting ready to send off their disabled drivers to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
This is a historic event that needs as much courage and passion as technical expertise. LEMO is a partner of choice.
For years Britain has led the way in all things disability. Disability laws, acts around discrimination and setting the standard for accessibility and equality have begun in the UK. Similarly, Britain is a leader in motorsport. McLaren and Aston Martin, for example, have earned their status as iconic British heritage brands with quality and technological expertise at their core. So what happens when you bring these two areas together? Team BRIT.
Team BRIT is a motor racing team consisting of drivers who are disabled. It has set out a hugely ambitious target of being the first ever all-disabled team to compete in the world-famous Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race, a feat they wish to achieve by 2020.
Following a high profile launch in February 2017, supported by title sponsor Brit Insurance, the team has gone from strength to strength, running two cars in the UK’s Fun Cup championship – the first rung on their motorsport ladder. This year 2018 will see them move up to GT4 racing, whilst continuing to offer new rookies entry level racing in the Fun Cup, creating an academy model of motorsport.
The team’s drivers each have varying disabilities that affect their physical mobility in different ways. The majority are ex or serving military troops that have sustained injuries during their time in service. Recently the doors were opened to civilian drivers in an effort to widen opportunities.
Technology has been the key to making this a viable project. The team has developed the world’s most advanced hand control system to allow its drivers to seriously compete on a level playing field against able-bodied drivers.
Previously, disabled drivers would have used mechanical pushpull or radial hand controls. Team BRIT’s system uses ‘drive by wire’ technology for the brake, throttle and clutch.
To control and monitor these pneumatic and hydraulic systems there’s a vast array of electronics, and the team have been working with LEMO UK to make this happen.
Team BRIT Chief Technician Al Locke said “Reliability is key. The races in which we compete are typically anything from 4 to 25 hours in length, and it’s a real test of every part of the car. In such a harsh environment the clear leader for us is the LEMO M-Series connector. We use B, M and T series connectors extensively throughout all the cars. Their ease of installation, ingress protection and mechanical strength is second to none.”
The team looks to serve as a pioneer for wider change in the automotive industry when it comes to disability. “With LEMO CEO Alexandre Pesci’s racing pedigree through his LMP* program it was only natural that we’d want to work with LEMO” says Team Founder Dave Player, who serves as the Disability Advisor for the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile – motorsport’s international governing body. He is an influential member of their recently established task force to improve access to motorsport for disabled people and is looking to spread the use of this technology globally.
LEMO continues to support the team through the provision of connectors and engineering advice.
“The team has developed the world’s most advanced hand control system to allow its drivers to seriously compete.”