Team BRIT’s Engineering Director has won a prestigious national award, presented by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
Motorsport engineer Al Locke, from Angmering in West Sussex, received the bronze award in the ‘Chief Engineer of the Year’ category at the IET’s Innovation Awards, held in London on Thursday 10th November.
Locke was nominated in recognition of his work developing and refining the world’s most advanced hand control driving technology – which allows the team’s disabled drivers to race on equal terms with able-bodied competitors. A combination of pneumatic, electronic and hydraulic technology enables the steering, brakes, clutch, throttle and gears to be controlled seamlessly using hands alone.
Being shortlisted was also acknowledgement of Locke’s expertise in managing the technical configuration of four completely different cars, all specially adapted, across the three separate championships they compete in.
Locke joined Team BRIT in 2018 as a race engineer, before becoming engineering director in 2020. He was shortlisted alongside engineers from organisations including National Grid and Ericsson.
Team BRIT Founder Dave Player said: “I’m incredibly proud that Al has recognised amongst such high profile peers in these national awards. Without our hand controls, we wouldn’t be making the progress that we are in ensuring motorsport is truly accessible for disabled people. Technology is key to this, and our hand controls have been continually developed and refined since the simple set of controls we first developed for karts.
“I couldn’t be happier for Al to be receiving this recognition of his skill and expertise. He is crucial to our operation and thoroughly deserving of this award.”
Locke said: “I feel honoured and quite humbled to have received this award amongst such skilled, successful engineers who are experts in their industries.
“The award ceremony was a true showcase of the power of engineering to make a difference and that’s exactly what we hope to do with our hand controls.
“I find it mind-blowing to see the work we’ve been doing over the past ten years, to enable accessibility in motorsport, recognised in this way. It’s not only testament to the hard work and ingenuity of our team, but also to our wider engineering family, who form vital parts of our development and supply chain.
“We’ve had the best year of our history, with podium finishes across three major championships but we have so much more to do and tech will be right at the heart of this.”