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Dave Player, founder of Team BRIT, has announced his departure from the team.

He shares his reflections on his time within motorsport, explains his decision to leave, and his hopes for the future.

These comments are entirely personal to Dave.

“The time has come for me to hand over the reins of this brilliant team to my colleagues.

“It’ll come as a surprise to some, but actually, when you look at the story of the team, our plans for the future and my role so far, the timing is perfect.

“When I set up Team BRIT back in 2015, I did so full of determination, passion and outright stubbornness to make and see change. Through KartForce, we had proven there was a need and a market for the hand controls we had developed and for the opportunities we were creating for injured troops.

“Whilst the team has been mine for years, the push to set it up, wasn’t.  It was the KartForce drivers who wanted to get competitive and move up to car racing. I thought it was a brilliant idea and a massive challenge, so of course, I was 100% behind it. Leading the team became my full-time job.

“In the early days, we set ourselves the goal of being the first ever all-disabled team to race in the Le Mans 24 hour and at the time, we wanted to do it within five years.  That timeline has changed many times, but the long-term goal has not. Sadly, without a bottomless supply of cash, any team would struggle to go from grassroots to Le Mans in that period – one of the few times I’ll accept my goal was slightly too optimistic!

“What became clear in the following years, was that Le Mans was not our ‘end game’ and never will be. What we wanted was to change the racing landscape for good, permanently altering the view of the sport as being for able-bodied drivers only, and showing without doubt, that disabled drivers have every right to be on the track, that they can race equally, and that they can win.

“We’ve hit hurdles, locked doors, the might of disbelievers, and enough financial scares that many others would have given up the fight many times over.  I’ve spoken openly about what I feel is the lack of national commitment to inclusivity in racing many times, and we’ve had to go alone repeatedly, when the sensible approach would be to unite as a sector for the benefit of others.

“I’ve fought for change to mind-boggling rules that discriminate against disabled drivers, and thankfully have won, yet we still see a fragmented landscape without the united front that I know would achieve so much more.  I’m not one to back down from a battle, as many will know, but my fight is always based entirely on what I believe is right and fair.

“When I look back at what we’ve achieved over the last 9 years, I’m proud, and I know we have been responsible for permanent change. We’ve grown from having two drivers and one car, to the fleet of six cars we own today, and a growing pool of drivers, each at their own stage of their racing career.

“We’ve gone from outsourcing the running of our cars to taking on our own premises at Dunsfold Park, and then doubling the size of our HQ with our move to Washington, West Sussex.  We’ve re-written the history books again and again, winning a national championship – the first ever all-disabled team to do so, been the first all-disabled team to compete in the British GT Championship, and just recently, supported the first ever Deaf driver onto the Britcar podium. It’s fantastic. 

Photo credit: Chris Overend

“We’ve never stopped innovating. I clearly remember the battle I had to get an engineering expert to take on the challenge of manufacturing the hand controls I had envisioned for car racing. So many people wouldn’t go near the project because it was too hard.  Thankfully, we secured the belief and buy-in of Slovenian experts MME Motorsport and the prototype was developed. I’m proud to say that the majority of developments and upgrades to the tech now happen in house, led by Al.  We’ll never be finished. Whenever we meet a new driver with a disability or a challenge we haven’t worked with before, we find a solution – perfectly demonstrated in our latest project with Deaf driver, Caleb McDuff.  We’ve created an interim solution for him to race safely in Britcar, but have huge plans for a new visual solution that will completely change the racing experience for Deaf drivers. This is everything we’re about – tell us the problem and we’ll find a solution.

“I hate being in the spotlight, as my team will agree, and I have asked for little to no ‘promotion’ of the fact I’m leaving, other than this opinion piece.  I don’t want to be seen as a ‘change maker’ or ‘leaving a legacy’, I want to be seen as part of a team that achieved incredible things.

David Butler MBE. David has always been a huge supporter in everything we have tried to achieve with KartForce and Team BRIT.  Without him and his pioneering work in disability motorsport, the fight with authorities would have been even harder than it has been.

He battled for 30 years to get a race licence and his selfless work to make motorsport more accessible paved the way for us.  He had to sue the Motorsport Association to force progress to be made and was treated very badly by MSUK and the FIA when they created the Disability Commission as they knew he was a force to be reckoned with and therefore didn’t offer him the position as president, when he was the only suitable person in the world for that role and would have demanded real change.

Matthew Wilson, former CEO of Brit Insurance.  He was the first CEO to truly understand and believe in our bold, brave and over-ambitious goals. Because of Matthew, Brit Insurance was our first title sponsor, and has remained so for the past seven years.

“Having Brit Insurance on board sent such a positive message and made other companies look at Team BRIT as a serious project worth investing in, as they too began to understand the value our partnerships offered.

“Without Matthew’s support and belief in us, we would never have been able to achieve what we have done.

“So why step away now? We’re at a pivotal moment in our team’s history. We’ve consolidated years of learning and experience into the set-up we have today, with a clear ladder of development opportunities for drivers coming in at every level. On top of that, we have projects underway that will push us into new directions, such as our work with Tunley Environmental to understand and improve on our carbon footprint, and plans to create a new community focused initiative, welcoming schools, charities and groups to our HQ to help them understand more about our team, our story and everything that is possible for people with disabilities.

“I’ve given everything and more to the team, and am proud of my efforts. Now, I want to hand over to my colleagues Mike and Al, who will bring fresh leadership, new ideas and a new approach, to make sure that we move ever forwards.

“Of course, I’m not disappearing.  I will be a lifelong friend of and ambassador for Team BRIT and will always be available for any driver or team member who wants some advice from someone that has lived and breathed Team BRIT for almost a decade.

“The future is bright for the team, for disabled drivers in general and it’s been one hell of a journey. Thank you to everyone who has done so much to make it possible.”

Photo Credit: Stavros Mastorou

Dave reflects as he stands down as the head of Team BRIT