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Teenage amputee Billy Monger completes British F3 test at Brands

Thursday, February 15 2018

Teenage amputee racing driver Billy Monger continued his return to the track at Brands Hatch yesterday (Wednesday), when he tested a BRDC British Formula 3 single-seater race car at the Kent venue.

Billy suffered life-changing injuries in a motor racing crash at Donington Park last Easter, and his lower legs had to be amputated. Whilst recuperating in hospital he had made clear his intentions to return to racing and was back in the paddock at Oulton Park in June. 

Last July at Brands Hatch, the 18-year-old got behind the wheel of a race car for the first time since his accident, when he drove a Team Brit Funcup racer with hand controls. Billy returned to the Kent venue in October to make his first steps in public at the British Touring Car Championship finale, just days after receiving his prosthetic limbs.

Billy's latest tests mark a return to the Formula 1-style single-seaters in which he previously competed, and to do this he had to lobby the sport's governing body, the FIA, for a rule change. Unlike the Funcup machine, the Carlin team's F3 car has been specially adapted for his requirements; Billy uses a single pedal for braking, and a hand throttle mounted on the steering wheel.

Billy's test at Brands Hatch follows an earlier excursion at Oulton Park in Cheshire last week, and once again he had to endure wintry conditions in the Formula 3 car. Nevertheless, he posted competitive lap times comparable to other F3 runners at both tests as he evaluated his racing options for the new season.

"It's a pretty awesome feeling being back out on track and I'm loving my time out there," said Billy, who admitted that he didn't expect to be racing single-seaters again.

"It wasn't on my mind at first, but when I spoke to the FIA and realised that it was something that could be changed, I saw no reason not to do it. It's what I've grown up wanting to do; I wanted to get into F1, so why not try and get back in a single seater again.

"We're still looking for partners to get the funding and I'd like to think we'll be able to get that sorted. The other thing is just getting used to the controls, and if I race I want to be competitive. So far it's been looking promising, we've still got more testing to do and I'll be learning something new with each lap I do."

"We have a completely different set of controls to what any other driver on the grid will have. I'm using a hand throttle, and both up and down gears are on one side of the steering wheel. I brake with my right leg, which I have a shorter prosthetic on. I've been driving a certain way for 12 years and then someone tells you to drive a different way. It was a bit of an obstacle at first, but I'm getting used to it and it's becoming more natural with every lap I do."

Watch the full interview footage with BRDC British F3 here:

For more information on the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, visit www.britishf3.com

Monger -16 Monger -03

All photos by Jakob Ebrey