President of the international FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission, Nathalie McGloin, has called for fundamental, widespread changes to be made within the world of motor racing, to make the sport more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities.
Nathalie McGloin is currently the only female tetraplegic racing driver in the world to be competing at professional level, and would like to see significant advancements made within the sport to increase opportunities for disabled drivers to participate through more accessible competition licence application processes, as well as improving the attendance experience for spectators, officials, volunteers and drivers at race circuits globally.
As part of her ambitious plans, McGloin has outlined an ‘Accessible Podiums’ campaign, which asks venues to invest in infrastructure and services to allow competitors, spectators and support staff who have physical impairments or mobility limitations to attend events and navigate venues safely, without facing hazards or accessibility issues. In addition, she is demanding considerable enhancements in seating and parking facilities, as well as online information resources.
The aim would be to make all Formula 1, GP and Formula E circuits certified with FIA Disabled Access Status by the end of 2019.
Also detailed in McGloin’s proposals are new provisions for awarding competition licenses for drivers with disabilities, including facilitating application procedures and making the process more inclusive.
McGloin, who recently became the first sportsperson with a disability to present a podium prize at the British Grand Prix, commented, “Working with the FIA, I am passionate about making motorsports for everyone. With these campaigns, I’m recommending step-changes in the way venues accommodate and cater for disabled people, whether they are drivers, members of the audience or personnel at the race tracks. I look forward to seeing significant progress in accessibility over the coming months, and thank the entire FIA organisation for its support in helping to shape the future of motorsport.”
Dedicated to helping others with disabilities, in 2016, Nathalie and her partner, Andrew Bayliss, founded Spinal Track, a charity that gives people the opportunity to take part in track driving experiences in specially modified cars. Nathalie hopes to expand the activities offered by Spinal Track to include rally car driving over the next 12 months.
About Nathalie McGloin
Born in 1983, Nathalie McGloin was injured in a car crash at the age of 16, where she broke her neck at level C6/7, leaving her completely paralysed from the chest down. Undeterred by this major injury, Nathalie graduated in 2007 from Nottingham University with a degree in English Studies, then proceeded to pursue a career in Wheelchair Rugby. In May 2015, Nathalie was the first female with a spinal cord injury to be awarded a race licence in the UK, and, a few days later, became the only female tetraplegic in the world to complete a race. She is currently still the only female tetraplegic to be competing in the world. Nathalie races a Porsche Cayman S PDK in the Porsche Club Championship, competing against able-bodied drivers. In addition to her FIA Commission responsibilities, Nathalie is an ambassador for the charity Dare To Be Different.
More about Nathalie McGloin Racing: http://nathaliemcgloinracing.com/
More about Spinal Track: http://www.spinaltrack.org/
About the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)
Founded in 1904, the FIA’s initial aim was to bring coherent governance and safety to motor sport. Through the expertise gained in that arena, the FIA has since grown into a global organisation that not only promotes motor sport, but also safe, sustainable and accessible mobility for all road users across the world. As such, the federation works across three key interlinked areas of activity – Sport, Campaigns and Mobility. In the realm of Mobility, the FIA aims to ensure that safe, affordable and clean systems of transport are available to all. The promotion of safe and sustainable forms of mobility has in turn led the FIA to commit to global sustainability initiatives and also to found its own major response to road safety concerns, FIA Action for Road Safety. This worldwide campaign, in support of the UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety, aims to reduce fatalities on the roads by five million before 2020. As the governing body of motor sport, the FIA ensures that fair, capably regulated and above all safe events are conducted in all corners of the globe. More at: www.fia.com