Nicolas Hamilton was handed the prestigious Sports Icon award at last night’s Variety Club Disability Awards, held in celebration of people with disabilities in sports. With honours across many levels, roles, locations and sports, the Awards aim to make the sporting world a more diverse and inclusive place.
Nicolas was recognised for his outstanding performance in motorsport. In 2015 he made history as the first disabled driver to race in Britain’s premier motorsport series, the British Touring Car Championship. Nicolas lives with cerebral palsy however pushes himself to the limits to regularly achieve strong finishes and points in the highly-competitive racing series.
Nicolas commented: “To win the award for Sports Icon tonight is pretty surreal, if I’m honest. To be here in Leeds amongst so many amazing disabled people, and to be recognised for my achievements, is a dream come true.
“I’m trying to showcase my purpose through motorsport by inspiring as many people as I can, so I’m really grateful to be here and to be walking away with an Award. It’s been such an amazing evening.”
Nathalie McGloin, the only female tetraplegic racing driver in the world, was meanwhile nominated for a Champion for Change Award on account of her ongoing work to get more disabled community members in the driving seat. Nathalie is proud to have her work – and the ongoing commitment of the disabled community – recognised by Variety Club: “I’m so humbled to have been nominated for this award. Spinal Track has had an incredibly successful year. We launched our women-only events, as well as Spinal Track Club that organises community events for our disabled drivers to attend. We can’t wait to build on this in the New Year, as well as introducing two new cars to our fleet. So many people are doing incredible things in the name of disabled motorsport and I hope that the awards will further highlight that motorsport is accessible for disabled people outside of our existing networks and inspire more to get involved.”
Loughborough Car Club was nominated in the Community and Clubs Award category for its Disabled Driver Scholarship, which offers two candidates a year of club motorsport completely free of charge. Richard Egger, Chairman of Loughborough Car Club added: “The nomination for a Variety Award is a nice thank you to the many members who have given time, effort and money to support the Disabled Driver Scholarship project. The programme arose out of a chance conversation…it seemed a fun idea and was very easy to set up – so that’s what we did. Now, over 10 years on, the impact on participants is varied, but overwhelmingly positive. We have many people who have benefited, from those who had a great experience and improved their self-confidence to those who now compete independently. It has been a very rewarding activity.”
Motorsport UK is committed to help more disabled people join the sport through a range of opportunities. To find out more, click here.
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