Motorsport is not the first thing you might think of when you look at competitions that disabled people can get involved with. It can be fast paced and dangerous, but in Britain, there’s a dedicated organisation that helps those with disabilities get their licences to compete alongside everyone else. It’s not an easy task, but many disabled racing drivers have gone on to have considerable success. You might be surprised at just how many people have the chance of getting a competition licence from the MSA. The British Motorsport Association for the Disabled can help those with a huge number of conditions get out on the track. There are drivers with a variety of amputations, arthritis, motor neurone disease, and even Parkinson’s.
Those with certain visual or hearing impairments are also eligible. The only cases in which a licence cannot be granted are those with epilepsy or severe heart problems. There are a great number of event types, and several licences which are available. This ranges from entry-level karting, to international rallying, and for obvious reasons, some licences are easier to come by than others. Often, cars will have to be modified to accommodate whatever the driver might need. This is similar to the way companies like Allied Mobility offer cars which can be driven from a wheelchair. Usually this means adding hand controls or foot pedals, so that the driver can still operate the vehicle as well as anyone else could.
This does make things slightly more expensive, although racing is never going to be a cheap hobby. One of the priorities of those who modify cars is ensuring that things are fair; no competitor should have an unfair advantage. Rules stipulate that in nearly all events, the driver must be able to exit his or her vehicle within either 7 or 10 seconds in the event of an accident. This is one of the biggest barriers to those with disabilities. Safety is paramount in motorsports, and it cannot be compromised under any circumstances. This rule is in fact in place for the safety of other drivers, the race officials and spectators. If you’re looking to get into motorsports, whether disabled or not, then the best place to start is at a local club. You can find out more about the different events, and what it takes to get a licence. Don’t let anything stop you getting out on the track.