Chessington man signs up for Team BRIT

A man from Chessington who lost both his legs following road accidents has signed up to be a rookie driver with Team BRIT. 

44-year-old Richard Newton, who is originally from Stoke-on-Trent is one of the latest drivers to join the team, which aims to be the first ever all-disabled team to compete in the Le Mans 24 hour race. Last week, it announced the launch of its Racing Academy, offering any disabled driver with a full UK licence the chance to access race coaching and tuition, using the team’s world-leading hand control technology.

In March 2003, Richard was hit by a car when he was riding his motorbike sending him over the central reservation and into the path of an oncoming car.  He suffered extensive injuries including a crushed left leg, a fractured femur and damage to his right shoulder.  He underwent more than 30 operations to try and save his leg, but after living with pain for years, he voluntarily had the leg amputated in 2012.

Tragically, in 2016, he was involved in another accident on the M40, causing damage to his right leg, which was also eventually amputated. Richard now uses both a wheelchair and prosthetics.

Having always had a love of cars and racing, Rich had met Team BRIT Race Engineer, Al Locke, many years ago, and was recently invited to visit the team’s base in Dunsfold, Surrey.  He tried out the team’s top of the range hand controls on its race simulator, and attended an assessment day at Brands Hatch before being invited to become a rookie driver for the team.

Richard, who became a father for the first time in March last year, will undertake his race licence test this month and will begin competing in the BMW 116 Trophy from April.  Last week he joined the team at a special Academy launch event, which was supported by Nicolas Hamilton.

Rich says, “I’m really excited to be part of Team BRIT.  I’ve always loved racing, and have competed in the British Drifting Championships, as well as riding motorbikes.

“I love being part of the team – we all want to help each other out, and each person has such an amazing, inspirational story.

“To have this opportunity is fantastic – it’s something I’ve always wanted but never thought would happen.  I’ll be working extremely hard to make sure I’m part of the line up in our first race in April.”