Adaptive Technology for Disabled Race Drivers

This week in Driver Development you will find out how adaptive technology is enabling race drivers with disabilities to compete and win on track.

You will also find out about a new global Formula Woman competition, using sim rigs to train and a new partnership between kart manufacturer Birel and single-seater team VAR.

It is all in this week’s Driver Development Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. News that aspiring race drivers can use.

Adaptive Technology for Disabled Race Drivers
This is the hand control system that Robert Wickens uses to compete in a Hyundai Elantra N TCR (Mike Levitt/IMSA)

Technological innovation to adapt racecars has helped drivers with life-changing injuries to return to the wheel and, in some cases, get back to winning races and championships. Drivers such as Alex Zanardi, Michael Johnson, Nathalie McGloin and Robert Wickens have proven that these adaptive systems work and Racecar Engineering takes a look at the technology. Read the article here: Wickens: Adaptive Racing is a Market with ‘Untapped’ Potential.

Formula Woman Nations Cup

The first-ever Formula Woman Nations Cup is set to make its debut in the UAE in 2024 with the mission to empower women motorsports right to the top of the podium.

The inaugural event will take place from December 13-15 and witness 50 drivers representing 26 different nations compete for international glory at the Dubai International Autodrome. Full details can be found here.

Organizers of the new female-only Formula Pro Women Racing Series (WRS) have teased a major prize package for their inaugural season. “While we are holding some of the details close to our chest for a future announcement of our complete prize fund, this is a major prize that we needed to get out to the masses,” explained Exclusive Racing and Owner of the Formula Pro USA family of programs BD Morgan. “Our goal is to establish the premier women’s-only race program in the United States and advance female drivers up the motorsports ladder.”

While all the details are not yet out, one of the prizes is a special two-day test in F1 Academy machinery with an F1 Academy Race Team at a date and location that is to be determined.

ASR Sim Racing Rig

If you don’t read my weekly Sim Racing Roundup then you should as last week you would have learned why sim racing rigs make for good race driver training.

Once dismissed as mere child’s play, simulators have been an integral part of driver development in top-tier series like Formula 1, NASCAR, and IMSA for a number of years now. While the systems used at this level of motorsports are often highly customized, multi-million-dollar setups, the simulation technology that’s now readily available at the prosumer level is reaching a degree of sophistication that’s not far behind.”

Driver Development Roundup

Birel and Van Amersfoort Racing have announced a strategic partnership which aims to improve the skills of VAR by Birel drivers by offering a comprehensive program to maximize their karting abilities and begin testing in the F4 series.

As part of this collaboration, VAR by Birel drivers will gain access to the combined knowledge and resources. The goal is to create a seamless transition for drivers as they progress from karting to the challenging world of car racing. The Briton Noah Wolfe will be the first driver to represent VAR by Birel in the OK class. “The Birel Group is pleased to welcome Van Amersfoort Racing into the karting world through a partnership that will create significant added value for VAR by Birel drivers, who will benefit from the expertise of both brands.” Commented Ronni Sala, Birel President.

“Supporting young talents is what drives us at Van Amersfoort Racing.” says Rob Niessink, CEO of VAR. “Noah is a talent to watch as he has already proven himself to be a fast and consistent racing driver. As a race team, it brings us joy to be able to follow and support Noah. We are very proud to be working closely together with Ronni and Birel, ensuring that Noah gets the support he needs during this important part of his racing career.” VAR by Birel will start in 2024.

Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.