Team BRIT Interview - Luke Pound
I spoke with the Team BRIT driver recently about his accident, his racing and much more.
Get to know the mega machines that the team will use on a race weekend.
Luke Pound has always been a racing fan but he never imagined that he’d actually become a racing driver, even less so following his accident.
Back in 2011, Luke was riding his motorbike on the way home from work when a kid walked out into the road in front of him pushing his bicycle. Swerving to avoid them, Luke ended up crashing into some metal railings.
The crash resulted in Luke breaking the nerves in his left arm, breaking his left forearm, his nose, his check, his jaw and four of the five metatarsals in his left foot. Due to the nature in which his foot healed after the accident, his toes began moving away from his big toe which meant that he had to have his smallest toe amputated. Luke also now has metal plates in his left forearm and collar bone – surgeons had to deliberately break his collar bones to get to his nerves. Luke also had to get a metal plate in his forehead, but he takes this particular injury in his stride.
I interviewed Luke recently to find out about how he got into racing professionally, the impact of his accident and more.
Luke has always been a racing fan – I asked him if it was something he ever considered doing before his accident or did it only come into his mind as a serious possibility afterwards? Did he think part of the reason that he wanted to go racing was because it would help him overcome his motorcycle accident?
"It's always been something I would have loved to do but never thought I would ever do, especially after my accident. I never thought about it to help me overcome my accident. My main aim after the accident was to get back on a bike as soon as possible which I did about 3 or 4 years ago. It was afterwards that I started to look into racing bikes but thought Mum wouldn't be too happy with that so I’d better stick to 4 wheels instead! But I would still like to attempt to do something on a motorbike and also would like to try rallying as well."
Photo Credit: Darren Cook, Scruffy Bear Pictures, Team BRIT.
Luke came across Team BRIT online and got in touch to find out more about its Racing Academy opportunities. He joined the team for two track days in April 2020 and was then invited to join the team as a rookie. Luke now races in one of the team’s BMW 116s in the Trophy Category of the Britcar Championship.
What is about Team BRIT that resonated and convinced you that this is the path you wanted to take?
"I think it was the first track day I did with the team with their academy. It was an eye opener, how they catered for people with all different disabilities and that we were all using the same steering wheel. After seeing all that and taking part in track days, I then had a quick chat with the boss Dave Player about the teams goals of becoming the first disabled race team to compete at Le Mans and he told me “you could be a race driver.” I was definitely onboard from that moment and it was only a couple of months later that I gained my race licence."
What was it like driving the race car for the first time?
"Well it was awesome, great fun! I miss not being in one at the moment but hopefully it won’t be too long until back in the race seat. I enjoy going through all the data as well, comparing laps with teammates, where I’m quicker or slower and where I can improve."
If you could race at any track in the world, where would it be and why?
"It would have to be the Nordschleife. It’s just a ridiculous circuit – nothing will ever be created like it again and is the ultimate test for any racer."
Who’s your favourite driver in motor sport?
"I would have to go with Nicki Thiim (FIA World Endurance Championship driver) or Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren F1 driver). They’re mega quick drivers but also, they seem to be themselves whenever doing interviews or any PR work. The majority of drivers nowadays seem like robots and all seem to say the same thing and it’s depressing listening to them, they have the best jobs in the world and majority of them seem bored."
What do you get up to in your spare time/how have you been dealing without racing during lockdown?
"Well I spend majority of my time on the PC either sim racing or racking up plenty of hours playing on Football Manager, I’ve been on furlough since just before Christmas so trying to keep myself entertained, joining in with eTeam Brits GT Challenge and just joining a race league on ACC so they should keep me reasonably busy."
What's something you've learnt from motorsport that helps you in your life outside of it?
"I think it’s more the other way round. I’m a happy go lucky guy and always have been in life. You win some you lose some so I think that has helped when things aren’t going the way I had hoped over a race weekend and I’m always happy when at the race track and doing things with the team."
Photo Credit: Scruffy Bear Pictures, Team BRIT and Darren S.Cook.
It will be ten years this May since Luke's accident. Since then, he’s had eight operations.
“I cannot thank enough all the nurses and surgeons that have looked after me put me back together in the John Radcliffe Hospital and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford and also all the physio’s that have given me a kick up the back side from time to time. I certainly wouldn’t be racing and enjoying myself if it wasn’t for them.”
How you reflect on your accident now looking back?
"I don't really look back on the accident now, I don't see anything gained in looking back at what happened, I think if I was put in that same scenario again, I would still do exactly the same. What happened happened and that’s it, just got to get on with it and it is as simple as that. Every operation I have had on my left arm has always had a 50/50 chance of working. I left the hospital after the accident with no ability to move my left arm and I knew then that if the ops didn't work then I would have my arm chopped off. Luckily for me probably 50% of the ops have worked and my arm is more useful being there than if it wasn't so it's a bonus even though I still have no movement in my hand."
Who's the better driver in the same machinery?
With a team like Team BRIT rising up through the ranks of motorsport, I was curious about what Luke thought about the possibility of a team like Team BRIT coming into something such as Formula 1 in the future.
Do you think we’ll see a team like Team BRIT in something like Formula 1 one day?
"It's always a possibility but I can't see it anytime soon I think. Looking at it from my point of view, I can only use my right arm to steer so with how complex the cars are at the moment and the amount of things you have to change on the steering wheel every lap is insane. I struggle to do it on the F1 game let alone adding G-Force into the equation. Perhaps that's where Elon Musk’s Neuralink could come in handy - not sorry for the pun."
Luke is an excellent example of making the most of what you have and not letting that prevent you from pursing your dreams. But if it wasn’t for Team BRIT, his potential as a racing driver may never have been realized, thus highlighting the important work they do. As for Formula 1 aspirations, whilst it may not happen any time soon, Robert Kubica is an awesome example of not shutting the door on that possibility as he managed to make an awesome return to racing in Formula 1 after a horrifying rally accident left him with the use of only one arm. Once racing gets back underway in 2021, it will be great to see Luke back out on track.
What did you think of our conversation? What was your favourite part? Let me know in the comments below.