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Billy Monger gets back behind the wheel of a racing car at Brands

Tuesday, July 04 2017

Teenager Billy Monger returned to the cockpit of a racing car at Brands Hatch today (Tuesday), just 11 weeks after sustaining life-changing injuries in a high-speed crash.

Billy had both of his lower legs amputated following the incident in a British Formula 4 race at Donington Park just days before his 18th birthday. A campaign to raise funds for his rehabilitation has raised almost a million pounds, and at the same time he has been getting used to driving with hand controls behind the wheel of a specially-adapted golf cart.

Billy's return to the track has been with the assistance of Team BRIT, which helps disabled drivers and injured servicemen to compete in motorsport. He drove a Fun Cup endurance racer, with styling inspired by the classic VW Beetle and similar power to a performance hatchback, using hand controls fitted to the steering wheel.

Team BRIT founder Dave Player, a former Royal Engineer in the Army, said: "The aim of Team BRIT is to be able to have drivers of all different disabilities compete on a level playing field. We've designed the world's most advanced set of hand controls and today Billy is testing a new type of steering wheel. The whole idea of today is first of all give Billy his first time out on track, secondly to get his race licence back [to] help him get back on his journey."

"It's been really good just to get back behind the wheel," Billy said. "Massive thanks to Team BRIT for sorting out today, I can't wait to be back again."

"Team BRIT have got two steering wheels for me to try out today. I've decided which one I prefer, now it's just about perfecting the technique so that when I come back I'm up the front winning races."

Billy's ambition now is to compete in the world-famous Le Mans 24 Hours, and he's teamed up with Frenchman Fréderic Sausset, who raced at last year's event despite losing both arms and legs through an illness.

"The company that Frederic set up to get to Le Mans in 2020 is a great project," Billy said. "Although the budget's not fully there yet, it will be a great opportunity for me. It was inspirational meeting him, he's a really nice guy and down to earth.

"The opportunity that may happen in the future with him would be great, but I'm not 100% committed to anything yet, we're just looking at different options to see what's best for me in the future," added Billy, who is aiming to make his racing comeback next year. "There's a lot of work involved in what's going on with my own rehabilitation, but that's all going well, so hopefully we'll be back out on track soon."

Billy also had time to thank his many fans and followers, who have overwhelmed him with their help. "It's been unbelievable and inspirational," he said. "People keep saying I'm the inspiration but I think all these people coming together to support someone who has gone through an accident like this, they're the true inspiration.

"Massive thanks to everyone who gave me support and I don't think I'd be where I am today without this, so it's been incredible."

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