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Halow Project

Matty takes on F1 stars in charity karting event

TeamKarting and X-Kart founder Matty Street has joined his Team BRIT team mates in a charity karting event, taking on the likes of F1 legends Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert.

Matty is a driver for all-disabled Team BRIT, which on Tuesday took second place in the Halow Project’s Damon Hill Kart Challenge.

Matty joined  Team BRIT drivers Bobby Trundley, Aaron Morgan, Andy Tucker and Luke Pound, lining up against a host of other teams, which took to the grid at Sandown Park in Esher to support the community-based charity. The Halow Project supports young people aged 16+ with learning disabilities on their journey into adult life. It helps give young people the chance to enjoy an active social life, make new friends, and find further education and employment training.

Former F1 superstar Damon Hill, who is a Team BRIT supporter, is also a patron for the charity.  Every year a karting challenge, led by Damon, is held to raise crucial funds.

It was at a Halow kart race in 2018 that Team BRIT first discovered current team GT4 driver, Bobby Trundley, who was competing at the event.  Bobby was racing alongside former Team BRIT driver Warren McKinlay who instantly recognised his incredible talent and introduced him to the team.

The team set out with expectations high and qualified in a superb P4.  The race then got underway with Bobby taking the opening lap, followed by Luke, Andy, Aaron then Matty.

A tough-fought battle ensued with the team being pipped to the P1 spot by Graves Motorsport, a team that included the drivers’ Team BRIT Coach, Max Coates.

Throughout the day, the drivers spent time with Damon, as well as fellow F1 legend and team supporter Johnny Herbert and Daytona Motorsport CEO Charles Graham.

Matty said, “What a fantastic day and a great way to raise awareness of the Halow Project and the amazing work it carries out with young people.

“It was brilliant to see my Team BRIT team mates competing in my usual workplace – a kart track!  We knew we’d be able to pose some serious competition and it was amazing to race against some F1 legends.

“Finishing on the podium just topped off the day – a huge thanks to the organisers for inviting us to take part.” 

To learn more about the charity and to donate, visit the Halow Project website.

Photo credit: Paul Cherry

Matty Street prepares for his first outing in the Team BRIT Aston Martin

Aston Martin, Top Gear test track… check it out!

Matty Street is a racing driver for Team BRIT. This season he has been racing a BMW this season but today he is going out on to the Top Gear test track in the teams Aston Martin!

Preparation is key, or as Matty puts it, “I will make it work”…

Flying lap

Here is Matty’s flying lap in the Aston…

Karts to cars BMW

Matty launches new route to racing for karting stars

Matty is proudly launching a major new project to help young kart racers progress to the next stage of motorsport.

‘Karting to Cars’ will see Matty and business partner James Austin offering grassroots, entry level racing and coaching for drivers looking to move from karts to cars.

More than 80,000 customers currently use Matty’s TeamKarting kart facility in Rochdale, with many starting their racing journey from as young as 6 years old.  Now, those who want to take the next step in their racing career will have the support of Matty and his team, who are passionate about lowering the barriers for entry into car racing.

The project has also had support from local sponsor Creation Signs based in Bacup, which has wrapped the new track car available for rookies to use. The firm, which designs, prints, builds and installs outdoor and indoor signs, has covered the BMW 116 car in impressive new TeamKarting / X-Kart branding.

Matty, who was diagnosed with asperger’s, dyslexia and dyspraxia as a child, drives for all-disabled Team BRIT, and raced the BMW in his 2019 rookie year.

Initially being offered to drivers on test and track days, the car is also fully prepped to race in the BMW 116 Trophy – a race series Matty and James plan to compete in as part of their calendar of motorsport.

Matty explains, “This is a really important project in our overall aim to support young people and rookie drivers into competitive racing.

“Over the years, I’ve built up a number of businesses, aimed at developing grassroots motorsport. From TeamKarting, to the Cadet Kart Championship, I want to help others who share my passion for racing but who may also need support in getting involved.

“I’m proud to have helped 100s of young drivers progress from indoor karting to outdoor racing. This is the next step to help them on their way towards racing cars.”

Contact us to find out more.

Busy weekend at Snetterton for Matty and Team BRIT

Busy weekend at Snetterton for Matty and Team BRIT

The Britcar Trophy round 2 was held at Snetterton, in Norfolk, and some brake issues didn’t stop Matty Street and his teammate achieving two top 5 finishes.

Here is what Matty said about his race weekend…

Friday: Testing

Friday testing went well, Snetterton is one of my favourite tracks and I felt at home straight away.

The team had made a few set up changes to the car compared to the previous outing at Silverstone a few weeks ago. It certainly felt great and was a huge step forward.

After my stint in the car my teammate, Andy Tucker, went out for his. Unfortunately, the car suffered a brake issues which meant retiring it for the rest of the day.

Not only was it a big loss of track time for us but it also required a big logistical effort by the team to get some parts overnight to repair the car.

Saturday: Team BRIT on the podium

While our class races on Sunday, Team BRIT also races in the Saturday Britcar Endurance event.

It was great to see Team BRIT drivers, Bobby and Aaron, doing a great job and finishing in P2 & P1 in their races.

Sunday: Race day

Sunday is race day, with Andy Tucker and I racing in the team BMW 240, while Luke Pound is in the BMW 118.

Qualifying gremlins

Going into qualifying I was very confident, as I love Snetterton. With new brakes fitted Tucker went out to warm the car up and bed the brakes in.

A few minutes into qualifying we swapped over to me to set the fastest laps. However, on my out lap the car developed a gremlin and this meant I was unable to set any flying laps. As a result we qualified a P6 for race 1 and P30 for race 2.

Race 1 – progress

Our Race 1 the strategy was for me me to start and Tucker to finish. It was a tough race but we managed to finish P5 after a P6 start… progress made.

Race 2 – another audacious start

Starting prom P30 on the grid left us with a challenge but everything to gain. I started once again, with the strategy of getting as far up the grid as possible… we certainly did that!

Thanks to some amazing overtakes and brave moves we managed to make up 19 places in the first lap. We reached P1 with 20mins to go.

Check out some of Matty’s overtaking moves

After the mandatory two minute pit stop and driver change, Andy kept up the battle and brought the car home in P5. With a P30 grid position to make it to the top 5 was a great result.

Write-off to race car

The technical issues are frustrating but everyone at Team BRIT is working hard to get a handle of them.

Our BMW 240i race car is a former write off that the team have rebuilt to create a race car… an awesome write-off to race car project for the team.

Take a look at the video below to see how it came about… it’s an amazing bit of kit and I can’t wait for the next outing.

Matty Street, driver of the day at Silverstone

Matty voted Silverstone driver of the day

In an action packed weekend at Silverstone, Matty Street had great drives in both races of the Britcar Trophy that saw him voted driver of the day.

Eventful debut in the BritCar Trophy

Here is what Matty said about his race weekend…

Some times you have good days some times bad days. Today we had both. 😩 🏆

There are huge positives to take away from the weekend. In race we qualified P7 got up to P2 after the start [check out the first lap here: Silverstone first lap]. I was even leading the race at one point🤩.

Race 1

A safety car bunched the pack back up and I dropped to P4. We had a small issue at the pit stop with refuelling and so we lost a bit of time during the driver change. After the pit stop we came out P8 and then Andy did a great job to claw pour way back to P7.

Race 2

In race 2, due to making such a good start in race one, we decided I should start the race. I am pleased to say I got another great start from P7 to P4 in the first few corners. From there I had a solid defensive drive. When I came Into the pits, the team nailed the refuelling and driver change but then the car didn’t restart 😩

The crew did an amazing job to get the car going again but we had lost so much time that we ended up back of the pack. Overall, the main thing is that we finished the race and still got a top 10 in class finish.

Not driver of the day it’s team of the day

Aside from that I got awarded driver of the day! 🏆

Not the result we’d have liked but still great to come away with something.

Today as been a true team effort. So as far as I’m concerned it’s not driver of the day it’s team of the day!

Sensational first lap from Matty at Silverstone

Sensational first lap from Matty at Silverstone

Wow, that’s how to nail the first lap when starting from P7… Matty Street’s first lap at Silverstone was sensational! Relive it here…

Eventful debut in the BritCar Trophy

Matty was competing in the 2021 Britcar Trophy (April 25th 2021) that takes place at the UK’s leading circuits (including Silverstone & Brands Hatch). Driving for Team BRIT, the only race team in the world that only has drivers with different disabilities, Matty’s team mate, Andrew Tucker, had qualified them in 7th place.

P7 to P2 on first lap

Driving the first stint at the race, Matty made a brilliant start getting to the inside for turn 1 and then making the advantage count as he cut through the pack to P2 by the end of the first lap.

As you can see from the footage, a battle to hold that 2nd place was well underway when a safety car brought the pack back together while damage lower down the order was cleared.

1st… momentarily!

As racing resumed after the safety car, pulled a moved to momentarily gain P1… heady times! Unfortunately Matty was caught out shortly afterwards and this saw him slip back to P4 in a very competitive race. Matty held 4th place throughout the remainder of his stint.

What might have been

Unfortunately a slight issue at the pit stop during refuelling meant that my team mate left the pits in P8. During his stint he was able to claw back a place and so we finished P7.

Racing at Silverstone in the Brit Car Trophy

Racing at Silverstone in the Brit Car Trophy

Matty Street competed in round one of the BritCar Trophy at Silverstone over the weekend of the 25th April 2021.

Matty had a busy weekend with practice on Friday and 2 races on Saturday. The exciting racing saw him drive a sensational first lap, solid race performance and being voted driver of the day.

The 2021 Britcar Trophy that takes place at the UK’s leading circuits (including Silverstone & Brands Hatch). The Trophy runs under a class structure, with shorter races and no re-fuelling. The format of the day is 1 x 20 minute qualifying and 2x 50 minute races. Matty is driving for Team BRIT, the only race team in the world that only has drivers with different disabilities.

Take a look at images from the weekend below (images courtesy of Darren Cooke):

‘Own your own story’ – how racing go-karts changed my life

People with autism have a superpower.

Some people might be able to tell you exactly what kind of train is on the track and where it was made, but for me it’s all about motorsport.

There are bad days. Recently, I couldn’t cope with the transition of moving house. The colour of the new soap-holder and the position of the glasses in the new kitchen caused me to completely flip out.

I took time off work, I imagine I was quite grumpy and snappy to some people. Sorry mum. There’s always bad days. But you’ve got to get up and crack on.

I’m Matty Street and I’m the CEO of TeamKarting, I’m 22 and I have autism. Here’s my story.

Autism is different for everyone. Me and my brother are autistic, and – as my mother would say – we are chalk and cheese.

I like structure and routine and he is more relaxed in that respect. It varies from person to person but, ultimately, it’s a social disorder which means some people struggle to understand what others would take as ordinary.

There are so many negative labels associated with autism. A friend of mine says I’m not supposed to be good at eye contact. To that, I say it’s overrated – depending on who you’re looking at.

We’re also not supposed to be good at speaking in front of people. Me? I speak in front of hundreds of people at events. And we’re not supposed to be good at sarcasm, even though I speak it as a second language!

There are so many different aspects of the link between autism and motorsport.

There is the repetition of constantly going around the track – nothing really changes. The speed of it is calming, because you’re constantly going ‘break, accelerate, turn’ and looking at all these different reference points.

It’s soothing because your physical actions are keeping up with the speed your brain is working at.

Motorsport isn’t like most sports. When you put the helmet on in the car or kart, it’s just you; the driver.

In football, for example, there are 11 players on the pitch who rely on each other and communicate socially. With motorsport, you don’t necessarily need to do that which is why it works out so well for some people with autism.

I manage a race team with 11 drivers. A couple of those drivers are autistic and when we turn up at a new track you can immediately sense the anxiety there.

At a new place, they don’t have familiar surroundings – all those things are going through their head and it takes a while for them to come out of their shell.

But the minute you put the helmet on it’s a sense of calmness, and a sense of relief and security that you are within yourself and it helps your initial anxieties.

I’d always like to know where I’m going, so if I’m going to a track for the first time I’ll always be extra prepared so that when I arrive I know what’s what.

Fired, rehired… then bought the business

Has motorsport changed my life? Massively. Without it, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now.

I have a lot more confidence now – I’ll quite happily speak in front of people. I wouldn’t have done that in school.

I didn’t tell anyone at school I had autism – even my closest friends didn’t know. When I was a kid I didn’t like the way PE shorts felt and you couldn’t get me to wear shorts for the life of me – it would be the world’s hottest day and I would still be in jeans or jogging pants.

Autism was just not something I felt confident to share or relevant to share at the time, but now I see kids coming through and struggle with things that I struggled with.

Since leaving school, everything evolved around motorsport, and I went to college to do motorsport engineering. At the time, I decided I didn’t like getting my hands dirty so I decided to go down the management route instead.

I started working at TeamKarting part-time at university, got myself fired, rehired, and then eventually bought the business with my business partner Chris.

By the time I was 21, I had qualifications, was a business owner and employed 30 people.

I’m a completely different person to how I was in school. Back then I wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Now if I’m doing a deal, I would quite happily walk away because it’s my way or no way.

I feel like I’ve got that insight to be able to help and share my experiences to make it a little bit better for them.

My biggest achievement is helping people with similar backgrounds to me defy all the misconceptions that come with it.

Advice to others? Own your own story. Just because someone says you shouldn’t be able to do something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a go.

Want some information or support? Click here

Matty Street was talking to BBC Sport’s Niamh Lewis.

Source: BBC News


Young Rochdale drivers make debut with ‘Racing with Autism’ team

Two young drivers from Rochdale, who live with autism, have competed in a charity karting event as part of the team ‘Racing with Autism’ (RWA).

Hosted by Team BRIT who support drivers with a range of physical and psychological challenges to access motorsport, 12-year-old Sandro Ballesteros and 22-year-old Matty Street, CEO of Rochdale’s TeamKarting and Team RWA Captain, took to the races on Tuesday 6 August 2019 at Brands Hatch, Kent.

Their team – Team RWA – is made up of six drivers, all with autism, and consisted of two teams of three young drivers on the day, racing against 16 other teams in a three-hour endurance race.

Matty and Sandro’s team put it in a fantastic performance, finishing 4th out of 18 teams, with the other RWA team finishing in 2nd place.

Sandro was diagnosed with autism when he was three and had his first experience in a kart aged five. He began racing in Daytona Bambinos and won his first Bambino Championship in his second year of karting, aged 7.

In his first year of junior championships, Sandro has managed 4th and 5th place, now lying in 7th as one of the youngest on the grid.

He also gives presentations at primary schools and was recently asked to speak at an autism conference with an audience of 120 people, including teachers, parents, and professionals.

Matty was diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia and Asperger’s (a form of autism) when he was at school. He won a £30k scholarship to go racing at the age of 14 and studied motorsport engineering before securing a degree.

He said: “At the age of 12, I discovered karting, which had a huge effect on me and helped me manage the challenges that Asperger’s can cause.”

Matty now runs Rochdale’s TeamKarting, the UK’s highest rated karting track, and has won an award for being Autism Friendly.

Together, TeamKarting and Sandro’s Able Racing project have helped introduce numerous autistic children to karting, some of which are now racing outdoors.

Matty and RWA team founder, Dave Player, invited Sandro and his fellow young kart racers to form a team, putting the other teams of sponsors and corporate supporters to the test.

It is hoped that the team will come together again for more events throughout the year, supported by Team BRIT.

Sandro’s father, Tony Ballesteros, said: “The moment Sandro put on a helmet we saw a calmness in him we had never seen before, and some of the autistic traits turned out to be well suited to karting; his hyper-focus, determination, fearlessness, attention to detail and rules. Cutting out all other inputs down to only what you can see through the visor, leads to some extraordinary reactions and consistency.

“Events such as the race with Team BRIT on Tuesday are great for Sandro. They give him a feeling of belonging and acceptance through the drivers’ common interest in the paddock, which has brought on not only his social skills, but helped with self-confidence, fairness, sportsmanship, dealing with failure and disappointment, relationships and teamwork.”

Team BRIT is aiming to become the first ever all-disabled team to race in the Le Mans 24 hour. Recently, the team supported Matty in starting his car racing career.

Source: Rochdale Online