MOTORSPORT: Autistic youngster takes on Porsche pros

Ben Taylor looks to follow in the footsteps of successful autistic racers worldwide

Autistic 19-year-old Ben Taylor is set to climb the motorsport ladder in 2024, with confirmation of a full-season tilt as a pro-ranked driver in the Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia.

The effort will come under the guidance of Porsche Centre Melbourne Motorsport, one of the few factory-affiliated racing outfits located outside Germany, and Taylor will also be guided on his journey by 11-time Porsche champion Craig Baird, who has joined Taylor in a coaching role.

Backing for the venture is coming from IT company Auticon, a destination for neurodivergent talent, which employs 465 autistic people in 15 countries.

Taylor will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of an impressive alumni from the junior Porsche class, which features the likes of Porsche factory prototype driver Matt Campbell, plus former champions Jordan Love, Harri Jones and Thomas Sargent, who have all raced with distinction overseas.

Other success stories include Ryan Wood, who will be driving for Walkinshaw Andretti United in the Repco Supercars Championship next season, only two years after an impressive run in the Porsche Sprint Challenge.

Taylor steps up into the Porsche having previously raced extensively in karting, plus in Formula 3 machinery at the front of the Australian Formula Open class, under the guidance of noted racer-turned-tuner Tim Macrow.

As a part of that apprenticeship, Taylor tested Macrow’s V8-powered S5000 racer, while he also sampled GT4 sports cars locally and Toyota Racing Series machinery in New Zealand.

Autism is one of a number of neurodevelopmental disorders that affect communication, learning and social skills, with an increasing number of drivers worldwide opening up about their condition.

In America, Armani Williams is climbing the NASCAR ladder, having made public the unique attributes that have served him well in the high-speed world of oval racing.

Contrasting his communication issues, Williams’ autism came with a hyperfocus trait that is serving him well in adapting to the physical mechanics of driving a race car.

In Europe, Bobby Trundley has found success on his motorsport journey, having been spotted by F1 champion Damon Hill.

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