Team BRIT driver Andy Tucker has been praised for his quick thinking and professional reaction to a car fire during his latest race.
Andy, who is from Llandevaud near Newport was racing for Team BRIT at Silverstone in the Britcar Championship on Sunday 4th July when his car set alight in the final minutes of the race.
Andy was hit by a car when stationary on his motorbike in 2013, causing a range of serious injuries. He now has limited movement and deformity in his right shoulder, trapped nerves in his neck, scoliosis and spondylitis in his spine and a deformed right hand and foot.
On Sunday, Andy was competing in his third race of the year when the freak accident happened.
Andy explains, “I came out of a corner, went into 4th gear, then fifth, pushing on the accelerator when I noticed a strange, high pitched ‘whooshing’ noise. I looked at the rear camera and could see smoke bellowing out.
“I had a feeling there was oil leaking causing the flames, so I pulled the car off the track to avoid putting the other drivers at risk. I drove it along the escape road and stopped it outside the marshal post. I got out of the car and pulled the cable for the Lifeline fire extinguisher before the marshals got straight to work and put the fire out.”
Andy’s quick thinking prevented other accidents on track and saved tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the car.
He continues, “I didn’t actually panic when I realised what was happening. I knew what I had to do from the training I’d received in the academy and the help I’d received from the team. I’ve followed motorsport all my life and have seen how other drivers have coped in these situations. Ultimately, I also had faith in the car – our crew have built an amazing machine that is as safe as it can be, the firewall meant that no flames got inside the car. I also knew that the marshals would do their job – they are all incredible volunteers and I’m so grateful for their quick reaction.”
The incident was captured on film by Andy’s family and sponsors who had gone along to the race to support him. Footage of the incident can be viewed here.
Team BRIT Race Engineer Al Locke said, “I can’t praise Andy highly enough for how he dealt with the situation. It was the perfect response. The whole time he was on comms, telling me what was happening. He got the car off the track immediately which prevented serious risk to other drivers and parked right next to the marshal post where he was able to get help. I’m so pleased he is safe and well and our thanks and gratitude go to the fantastic actions of the volunteer marshals.
“This also reinforces why we make sure we have only the best safety kit across our fleet. Andy was able to access our LifeLine fire extinguisher which was immediately available to the marshals.”
Despite the incident, which was found to have been caused by a turbocharger failure, Andy secured crucial points by completing the distance for the race and is now pushing for 3rd place in the class championship. He was joined at Silverstone by guest driver Paul Voakes.
Andy races again at Brand Hatch on the 1st August.