After very nearly losing his life in a UK Britcar accident just 18 months ago, Andy Neate will return to racing in 2010 after securing a drive for reigning BTCC champions West Surrey Racing.

Neate, who has fought long and hard to recover from the injuries he sustained at Silvertsone, was testing with the team last week at Thruxton in Hampshire and now gets the chance to fulfil his ambition with a dream drive with Dick Bennetts ultra experienced squad in this years Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship... [read more]

Speaking to Official BTCC website btcc.net the 35 year old explained just some of the horrors of his accident saying " “I basically suffered the same injury as the actor Christopher Reeve who played Superman. The only difference was my spinal cord didn’t break away from the vertebrae. Really, when this happens, at best you’re looking at terrible paralysis.

“When they reached me in the car I wasn’t breathing and they had to do some emergency work to get my lungs going before they could move me. I was airlifted to hospital and the doctors told my wife, Sarah, to prepare for the worst. But somehow, I came through it."

Neate then spoke about the long and arduous road to recovery - "There were some very tough moments. Waking up and having no mobility. Losing three and a half stones when all you weigh in the first place is 12 stones is also quite a lot to take and for a long time I was a long way of any physical normality.

“But eventually my fitness, strength and sensations started to come back and now I’m ready to race again. I’ve still got a titanium plate in my neck which slightly limits my movement but that’s about it.

“I did say I wouldn’t race again but the BTCC is all I’ve ever wanted to be in since I started out. To me it’s the best race series in the world. The person I really needed to ask permission from was Sarah and after visiting the doctors for assessments she said ‘go for it’.”

Neate completed a fair bit of running at the recent Thruxton test (above) despite disruption due to a hefty late afternoon hail storm and is hoping for more seat time before the season starts at the Hampshire venue on April 4th. The father of two realizes that he will be in good company at WSR - “To be with a team who’s past drivers have included the likes of Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen is a very special feeling. Dick Bennetts who runs the show is just the best team boss I could wish for, said Neate before adding - “I’m not going to make any grand predictions. The BTCC is as tough as it gets but I definitely want to be in the championship and with WSR for some years.”

Neate was in talks with WSR before suffering his sportscar accident and is the Chief Technology Officer for WSR team sponsors Ceravision who specialize in high efficiency plasma lighting.

Andy Neate - Career Details:

Karting from the age of 15.

1997 Formula First

1998 Euro Formula First Winter Series

1999 Formula Opel Europa Cup

2000 Ford Fiesta Championship

2002 British GT

2004 Seat Cupra Championship/UK Renault Clio Cup

2005 BTCC (entered only 3/30 Rounds) / Ford Fiesta Championship

2006 Ford Fiesta Championship - 1st - 5 Wins. Britcar 24 Hours - Silverstone - Pete Daniels Motorsport

2007 Britcar 24 Hours - Silverstone with Rollcentre Racing - Mosler GT3 RS - 2nd / Ford Fiesta Championship

2008 Britcar-TVR


Photo/Editoria: Neil Tozer

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