New Film Documents How Sim Racing Changed the Life of a Young Man with Cerebral Palsy

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A new short film “Inspired to Drive” is the inspirational story of how a young man with cerebral palsy used simulated racing technology to develop the skills needed to become a world-class professional race car driver.

Nicolas Hamilton was born with cerebral palsy and spent most of his early years in a wheelchair and a variety of other devices designed to aid with motor impairment. He also had a dream—to one day be a professional race car driver, like his older brother, three-time Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton.

Nicolas Hamilton looking up at his brother Lewis Hamilton

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His father, who never gave up the hope that Nicolas might one day live out his dream, once strapped his feet to the pedals of a go-kart, only to watch 7-year-old Nicolas go careening off into a ravine.

Nicolas Hamilton looking over sim racing setup

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But at the age of 15, Nicolas was introduced to the world of simulated racing, and his life was changed forever. The virtual world of simulated racing offered him a glimmer of hope and a whole new way to make nerve-muscle connections.

He devoted so much time developing his skills and abilities on the simulator that he was soon winning Esports championships and gaining huge notoriety in the online racing community. But that wasn’t enough for Nicolas; eventually his single-minded dedication saw him able to transfer his online skills into the take-no-prisoners, physical world of real-world motorsports.

Nicolas Hamilton driving his specially modified race car. Images Credit: Monster Energy / Dan Fegent Photography

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In 2011, Nicolas Hamilton, with his world champion brother Lewis watching alongside thousands of fans, lined up on the grid for his debut in professional motorsport, competing in the highly-competitive UK-based series, The Renault Sport Clio Cup.

Nicolas Hamilton in his Audi S. Images Credit: Monster Energy / Dan Fegent Photography

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In 2015, with a car that was specially modified to accommodate his needs, Nicolas secured a deal with AmD Tuning to race an Audi S3 in five rounds of the British Touring Car Championship, the top motorsport series in the UK, thereby becoming the first driver with a disability to compete in the series. Nicolas is now also part of Channel 4’s Formula One presentation team.

The short film “Inspired to Drive”, charts this inspirational story of how a kid who couldn’t walk without mechanical aid went from a wheelchair cheering on his world champion brother to the cockpit of a racing car as a professional racing driver.

The film was shot on location in Los Angeles, California, at CXC Simulations—a high-end engineering firm that has revolutionized personal racing simulation equipment—as well as on location in London. The film was produced by automotive filmmakers Donut Media.

Nicolas’s career has gone from strength to strength since that debut in the Renault Sport Clio Cup; with his specially modified car, he has raced against the best in the European Touring Car Cup, and British Touring Car Championship. His understanding and keen knowledge of the racing world has become much sought after; when he’s not pulling a fireproof balaclava over his head, his unique skill-set is used by motorsport simulation studio Slightly Mad Studios (makers of Project CARS) as their Handling Consultant. And on any given Sunday, Nicolas can be seen on TV as an official pundit for Channel 4’s coverage of the world’s most watched motorsport series, Formula One.

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