Invictus Games and Jaguar join forces to take military veterans racing in 2018
Jaguar launches special Invictus Games F-Type that will compete in British GT Championship
The Invictus Games will take to the track for the first time in 2018, thanks to the all-new Invictus Games Racing outfit launched yesterday at the Autosport International Show.
The project will see the new team run a pair of Jaguar F-Type SVR GT4 cars, purpose-built by Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) department, in the British GT Championship.
The driving team will comprise wounded, injured or sick veterans selected by the Mission Motorsport charity, which has worked hard to give former forces personnel a new challenge after discharge since 2012.
Paul Vice, an ex-Royal Marines Commando, suffered paralysis of the right arm, traumatic brain injuries and the amputation of one of his legs below the knee after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan in 2011. His teammate will be Steve McCulley, who nearly died at the hands of an IED, also in Afghanistan in 2011.
Vice credits his love of motorsport as part of what got him through this trying time, and comes to the Invictus Games Racing project with previous racing experience in Caterham’s single-make championships, as well as seven Invictus Games medals, including two golds.
The Invictus Games Racing team not only caters for physically wounded veterans – both drivers of the second car suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Basil Rawlinson, an ex-2nd Battalion parachutist and Jaguar Land Rover employee, will race alongside former RAF Chinook engineer Ben Norfolk, who told his story at the launch.
He said: “I left the RAF in November. I was medically discharged as a result of complex PTSD, anxiety and depression – a range of mental health symptoms which I developed due to an incident in Afghanistan in 2008. Although I was never involved in direct combat, I had a lot of dealings with the after-effects. One event stayed with me and buried its way into my brain over the course of four years.
“It came out three or four years ago, and where I am now compared to where I was two years ago . . . .” He pauses. “You only need to speak to my wife to grasp how different things are now.”
The Autosport show is being held at the NEC in Birmingham, and David Fairbairn, senior manager of SVO Bespoke and Special Commissions, spoke enthusiastically about the opportunity to work with the veterans.
“We have a lot of rewarding projects but this one tops them all. Not only are we getting the opportunity to develop a Jaguar F-Type SVR GT4 car, but we’re also inspiring injured servicemen and women to try something else and learn about the motorsport industry,” he said.
The first British GT race for the Invictus Games Racing team will be the Oulton Park season opener, taking place from March 31 to April 2.
By Adam Weller
Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.