Guest blog: Supporting the creation of a level playing field for disabled drivers in motorsport

Pupsi Phull, operations Director for RS UK&I, outlines how an inspiring engineering-led initiative is helping to make motorsport more accessible for all

Chris Overend

Driving awareness of STEM subjects and inspiring tomorrow’s engineers has long been a passion at RS. From supporting at STEM-related events – providing ambassadors to help mentor young people – to developing and taking on the road our mobile innovation experience: a 32-tonne truck showcasing some of the latest technology used in industry today, to inspire young people. RS has certainly been active in this area.

But when we heard about an engineer who was ordering components from RS to develop design changes in the internal mechanism within a race car, to enable disabled people to access the sport on a level playing field, we were compelled to get involved with this truly innovative and inspirational organisation.

Team BRIT is the world’s only competitive team of  all-disabled racing drivers, and  aims to change motorsport to make it truly accessible for all. The organisation supports and motivates people facing physical and psychological challenges to achieve their true potential in motorsport, and achieves this through technological innovation that enables disabled drivers to compete on equal terms. Its roots are in the military, originally focusing on supporting injured troops with their rehabilitation and recovery through competitive motorsport. This can be a lifeline for many people. To facilitate this, Team BRIT has developed the world’s most advanced hand control technology, which is installed its  race cars, and adapted to individual driver needs.

The hand control system uses a pneumatic, electronic and hydraulic technology combination which enables hand-controlled steering, accelerating – including gear changes – and braking. This means that regardless of the disability, no driver is at a disadvantage. The ingenuity of the design means it can be removed easily to return the car to conventional controls, to enable drivers with a range of disabilities to compete on the same team with the same car.

RS decided, on hearing about the inspirational engineer and the Team BRIT mission, to sponsor the team in 2022. Providing both financial support and access to components like connectors and electronic products for hand controls, it was the ideal way for us to support the organisation’s goals and ambitions. The team enjoyed great success during that racing season – competing in the British GT Championship, the British Endurance Championship and the Britcar Trophy.  The team actually made history as the first all-disabled team to enter the British GT Championship, and became the first ever all-disabled team to win a national racing series.

So of course, our support didn’t end there. We’d got the racing innovation bug and decided to pledge a further three years of support to Team BRIT. In addition to the provision of financial support and components access and advice, we also provided a rapid prototyping machine (3D printer) so the team are able to design and test parts to continually develop and improve the hand controls and other innovations for their drivers. The team has two McLaren 570S GT4s, a BMW M240i and a BMW 1 Series in Its current race car portfolio.

In 2023, Team BRIT had four teams in four championships, and 10 drivers. It also, for the first time, raced in the Citroen C1 Championship to provide an entry-level offering for rookie drivers, and introduced two women to the team. For the 2024 season, which kicked off in March, the team has six drivers competing at different levels in two championships: the British Endurance Championship and the Britcar Trophy. New rookie drivers are making their competition debuts, including 16-year-old Caleb McDuff, the UK’s only male deaf racing driver who was inspired to pursue motorsport after doctors said his cochlear implants would prohibit him from participating in physical sports like football or rugby. Now, the team is working on new, advanced solutions to improve Caleb’s pit to car communications.  Noah Cosby, an 18-year-old Team BRIT newbie, broke his back in a motocross jump which went wrong. He was introduced to Team BRIT through fellow driver Aaron Morgan, who has a similar injury, and the rest is history! He is competing in the British Endurance championship.

These are just brief stories of two of the drivers Team BRIT has helped – there are many more – and how could we not be truly inspired by these important role models who are demonstrating daily that anything is possible with the right support and motivation. We are proud to be involved with Team BRIT and will be right behind them this year, and into 2025 as our support continues. It’s an exciting journey the organisation is on, and we feel sure the team will continue and build on its former success during this season, and set more records to add to its glowing results chart.


Pupsi Phull is Operations Director for RS UK&I