Designed to give injured ex-servicemen and women a long-term career in motorsport, Swiss racer, Peter Knoflach brought Nathalie McGloin to the track. The brainchild of Swiss racer and businessmen, Peter Knoflach, who met several injured veterans while skiing in his home village of Klosters, the Eighty-One Racing Heroes program is designed encourage vets to compete in motorsport racing.
Now Knoflach is betting the farm on veteran McGloin, who became the first woman with a spinal injury to be granted a racing license in the UK, five years ago. Last year she became the first-ever female disabled rally driver, and she’s also the president of the FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission.
The front runners
Veterans, turned mechanics, engineers and logisticians are getting up to speed during the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. The delayed championship gets underway
in August and they will be visiting some of Britain’s most famous circuits in a high-pressure race environment that’ll test their mettle. All of them will be working with front-running team Redline Racing, sponsored by Knoflach’s “Eighty-One Power Drink.” When they aren’t racing, the vet’s team will work within the energy drink company at its new headquarters near Silverstone.
The racing drivers will be following a different agenda with a variety of races and championships coming up. Nathalie will be competing in Eighty-One racing colours on the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB, which runs alongside the Porsche Carrera Cup. Her Porsche Cayman GT4, developed by the factory in Germany and run by Redline Racing in the UK, will be equipped with specially-created hand controls. Nathalie is tetraplegic following a spinal injury sustained as a teenager. She has been racing since 2015, and her long-time mechanic, James Webley, is an injured ex-serviceman who is also part of the team.
The race is on
“This project was such a good fit for me, for so many reasons,” says Nathalie. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt as excited about a racing program as I have about this one. When I met Peter, I knew straight away that his heart was in the right place. He’s creating amazing opportunities for talented ex-service people both in motorsport and in business. I can’t wait to drive the Cayman GT4, it’s exactly the right step up for me as I’ve been racing a Cayman already, but this one is obviously at another level.”
Eighty-One has some ambitious goals that will ultimately lead the team towards the pinnacle of endurance racing. Next year, these racers plan to compete on an international program using two cars: with one female disabled racer paired with an able-bodied female driver, and another male disabled driver paired with an able-bodied male driver. The cars will be run and serviced by the injured veterans, with backing from the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission. A number of celebrities are soon to be announced as brand ambassadors.
Onwards to Le Mans
As the team rises through the ranks, their ultimate goal is to take on the world’s most challenging race— the Le Mans 24 Hours. According to Knoflach, “Nathalie’s motto is that anything is possible, and that fits the team’s message. As well as being an ideal ambassador for our program, she is a very talented and determined racer. Porsche has confirmed a car for Nathalie in its new GT4 championship in the UK, our talented team of ex-servicemen are working now to adapt it to her needs.”
With the objective of putting as many people to work as possible on the circuit, and creating a team that’s as ballsy as it is talented, it looks like Knoflach and his power drink are off to a flying start with McGloin behind the wheel.
Submitted by Eighty-One Racing Heroes