Monger Back In The Driver’s Seat

February 9, 2018 by

Beating The Odds, Changing The Rules

When talking beating the odds, Billy Monger is motorsports’ poster child. Its been nine months and twenty and a few days since the eighteen year old was involved in a horrific crash with a terrible price to pay: the loss of both of his legs. For most, this would have been reason enough to quit the world of competitive motorsports altogether, but this isn’t Monger’s story.

Monger made his return to the cockpit for the first time since the nightmare, on Tuesday, by getting in behind the wheel of a BRDC Formula 3 car at Oulton Park, England. The test run is what is expected to be the first in a series of tests with junior team Carlin Racing.

The accident that left Monger severely impaired happened at the British Formula 4 at Donington Park. During the final event of the weekend, the car in front of Monger swerved suddenly to the left in order to avoid running into a back of a suddenly-slowing car. Monger had almost no time to react and ended up crashing full-on into the basically stationary car in front of him, naturally, at close to full speed.

The dash cam of the car that Monger was racing recorded the accident that stunned the world of motor-racing. Both Monger’s legs had to be amputated following the incident. Motorsports greats Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who had seen the video footage, made large contributions towards Monger’s medical bills. Donations to the tune of $1,3m were received almost exclusively from the ranks of motorsports alone.

When Only The Best Is Good Enough

Shortly after the accident, Monger had said that it was all of the support that served to motivate him to recover and get back behind the wheel of a racing car.

Monger’s first stint back was eight weeks after the incident, at first in a car that was adapted for the disabled, a VW Fun Cup car that belonged to a squad of injured servicemen of Team BRIT. The laps in the modified VW served Monger well, as it had earned him back his racing licence.

This wasn’t good enough for Monger, who wanted badly to return to open-wheel racecar racing. In order for this to happen, Monger had to bring a special application in order to effectively have the rules of motorsports changed, allowing a disabled driver to compete in a single-seater racecar.

And change the rules, Monger did. The car Monger drove on Tuesday is a step up from the car that was involved in the accident, with the F3 series having proved especially useful to assist young drivers to make their way into the seat of an F1 car.

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