Motorsport chief Nathalie McGloin commits to 5000 more disabled participants
Motorsport’s accessibility chief has announced her commitment to recruiting 5000 more disabled participants to racing over the next few years.
Nathalie McGloin, Disability and Accessibility Commission President for the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA), said the initiative was one of many the governing body are launching to improve access and visibility.
The British driver is the only disabled woman to hold a race and rally licence in the UK and competes against able-bodied men in an adapted Porsche 987.
She said: “I want to attract 5000 more disabled participants behind the wheel, in technical and team roles and as officials and volunteers.
“That may seem like an ambitious goal but over the decades the FIA has become specialised at meeting tough targets—in safety, innovation and engineering prowess.
“I believe that while this is a lofty ambition it’s one we can meet. I want disabled youngsters to look at a Formula 1 champion and think ‘that’s something I can do.’"
McGloin’s committee overhauled FIA regulations last year to streamline what had been a disastrous ad-hoc entry process for disabled drivers.
She said the FIA has handled numerous cases where racing officials had no measures to deal with adapted vehicles, including one incident involving world-famous Italian driver Alex Zanardi.
McGloin added: “The response was to put those disabled drivers into a separate class of their own.
“That’s not what we want. We want drivers to compete on a level playing field.”
So, McGloin's committee created a Certificate of Adaptations, which she hopes will prevent driver discrimination.
They also introduced a mandatory racing sticker to help marshals and racing officials identify drivers who need assistance getting out of their cars after crashes or during mechanical stops.
McGloin had a career-best year in 2018 which saw her win her first race at the Walter Hayes trophy weekend at Silverstone, while also being appointed the FIA’s youngest commission president.
She said: “The role I’ve been entrusted with is something I’m so incredibly proud and of. I’m so passionate about making progress with it.”