A team of paralympic rowers have tasted life as a racing driver after spending the day with Team BRIT.
On Thursday 7th April, three of the rowers, along with team coach Nick Baker, headed to the team’s base at Dunsfold near Guildford to try out the team’s world-leading technology.
The GB Para-Rowing Team is hugely successful, winning 50% of the gold medals awarded in paralympic rowing since its introduction in 2008. Team BRIT has begun its biggest ever year, currently leading the British Endurance Championship in its Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4, taking a podium finish in the first round of the Britcar Championship in its BMW M240i and preparing to race in the British GT Championship next week in its Mclaren 570S GT4 – one of the most hotly contested endurance championships in Europe.
Team BRIT also has successful Paralympian skier James Whitley racing with the team for the first time this year, after returning from a successful campaign in Beijing.
Rowers visiting included Oliver Stanhope who took a gold medal in the Tokyo Paralympics, Ben Pritchard who took 5th place in Tokyo and Ed Fuller who hopes to compete in his first paralympics in 2024.
This was the second visit of the paralympic team to the Dunsfold base, where the rowers received coaching on the team’s top of the range racing simulator, fitted with its hand control technology. They then were taken out on the iconic Top Gear test track for hot laps in the team’s Mclaren GT4 before getting to grips with the hand controls themselves in the team’s BMW M240i which is being raced in the Britcar Trophy this year.
Paralympic Head Coach Nick Baker said “We are so grateful to Dave and the Team BRIT family for inviting us down to their home base for the day and offering the opportunity to drive a race prepared team car. I remember an old boss of mine saying once “if you want to be successful surround yourself with good people”, well we found some very good people at Team BRIT and I hope the two teams can collaborate again in future …. Maybe we’ll even get some of the drivers in a boat in the summer!”
Paralympic Champion Oliver Stanhope said “This was my first track day and an incredible experience, the team were so welcoming, I immediately felt the same sense of focus, fun and determination around the place that we have at our training centre in Reading. I really hope we can collaborate on other experiences in the future.”
Team BRIT Founder Dave Player said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Nick and his team to our HQ. The paralympic rowers have a range of disabilities, similar to our drivers, but not one of them lets this hold them back from achieving their dreams. That’s exactly what we’re about and I hope they enjoyed trying their hands at an entirely new sport. We can’t wait to welcome them back to the track.”
Photo credit: Ryan Cox Photography