Former Worthing student’s work on world-leading hand control technology helps with win at 2019 Motorsport Awards

An Angmering man’s dedication to world-leading hand control technology has helped his team win recognition at the 2019 Motorsport Awards.

Al Locke, race engineer with Team BRIT, an all-disabled racing team based in Surrey, has refined a system that allows disabled drivers to race against able-bodied competitors.

Race engineer Al Locke with a Team BRIT driver, demonstrating the hand controls that won recognition at the 2019 Motorsport Awards. Picture: David Archer / Kingsize

Race engineer Al Locke with a Team BRIT driver, demonstrating the hand controls that won recognition at the 2019 Motorsport Awards. Picture: David Archer / Kingsize

Developed with Slovenian motorsports expert Marko Mlakar, the controls have an electronic braking system, making racing easier and safer for drivers who are unable to use their legs.

At the 2019 Motorsport Awards, Team BRIT Hand Controls won the award for best new engineering and technology.

Al said: “It was great to receive this recognition. It’s so important that we use innovation and technology to create equal opportunities and that’s exactly what we’re doing with Team BRIT.”

Al, 36, grew up in West Worthing and went to Worthing High School before graduating with an honours degree in motorsport technology. He started working with Dave Player, founder of KartForce, in 2013 as a mechanic and then team manager. This led to him assisting with Team BRIT in his spare time, when Dave formed the team in 2015.

In 2016, Al became the race engineer for Plans Motorsport, who took over the running of the Team BRIT cars until the beginning of 2018, when Al moved to Team BRIT full time.

He now lives in Lime Grove, Angmering, and enjoys spending his spare time with his two sons and partner, Lisa.

Al said: “My work is about refining and developing our controls to make sure our cars are as competitive as they can be. Through the technology we’ve created, we show disabled drivers that they can compete on a level playing field, and for some, that’s something they never thought would be possible.

“We’ve had a fantastic year of racing and have welcomed so many new drivers through our Racing Academy. I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2020 brings.”

Team BRIT drivers used the controls in this year’s Britcar Endurance Championship and the inaugural Gaz Shocks BMW 116 Trophy.

The Racing Academy was launched this year so disabled drivers from all over the country could have access to coaching, tuition and track days, using the hand controls in its simulator and track cars.

Team BRIT driver Matty Street was a runner up in the Spirit of the Sport category at the awards. He lives with autism and works to raise awareness and understanding through his karting business.