For the first time in history, a trophy at the British Grand Prix will be presented by a disabled person. Meet Nathalie McGloin, a lady who is breaking down barriers in motorsport…
Need I say that after a road traffic collision, more commonly known as an RTC, getting back in a vehicle can be tough, whether that’s physically driving or being a passenger. To many, the prospect would be daunting and, in most cases, it can take years of treatment to overcome the fear of getting back in a car.
But to get back in the car and race, competitively, and to be successful – that is what makes Nathalie McGloin’s story even more remarkable.
After being completely paralysed from the chest downwards at the young age of 16 in a road accident where the car crashed into a tree, Nathalie is now the only female spinal injured racing driver to hold an ARDS license in the UK. That in itself is a staggering achievement.
Nathalie has achieved the seemingly impossible. Being paralysed, she has learnt to escape her race car unaided in less than the mandatory seven seconds. With her very specially adapted car, not only did she need to demonstrate that she had the driving skills to pass her ARDS test, she also needed to prove that she was physically able to compete on a race track with able-bodied drivers – not an easy task when learning to drive in a highly competitive environment with hand controls.
She’s become an advocate for women in motorsport, playing a huge part in Dare To Be Different’s campaigns in inspiring more females to try their hands at motorsport related activities.
In addition to this, Nathalie is the co-founder of Spinal Track, a charity which aims to give disabled people the opportunity to drive a special adapted car.
Today it was announced that the MSA Chairman David Richards had nominated Nathalie to present the third-place trophy at this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. By doing this on Sunday, Nathalie will become the first disabled person to present a trophy at the British Grand Prix. One huge honour.
Nathalie currently competes in the Porsche Club Championship and joined the FIA as the President of Disability and Accessibility Commission at the end of last year.
The news of Nathalie being the first disabled woman in the UK to present a trophy at a Formula 1 race at Silverstone is a huge step forward for the sport.
“When David Richards confirmed that I would be presenting the third place trophy after the F1 race at Silverstone, I was speechless,” Nathalie says. “The support I’ve had from the MSA with my new role as President of the FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission has been incredible.
“Being gifted this opportunity by David is humbling beyond words – it’s something that has never been done before by any other chairman, and the idea was completely supported by Jean Todt, President of the FIA. The sense of pride is enormous and I cannot wait for the F1 weekend to get started now!”
While it is an immensely proud moment for Nathalie, this move shows that motorsport is becoming a more inconclusive environment, welcoming those from all backgrounds.
I met Nathalie for the first time in 2016 and was completely taken back by her determination to be successful in motorsport. Two years later, she’s doing so much more than just competing.
If there’s one message you should take away from this, it’s to never give up on your dreams. Nathalie is doing a remarkable job in proving that anything is possible if you work hard enough.