Motorsport UK chairman David Richards is pushing to make motorsport in the United Kingdom more accessible for younger people in a bid to “safeguard” the future of the sport.

Motorsport UK is actively engaging with a high volume of youngsters from varying backgrounds to try and encourage greater participation in motorsport, which remains an expensive hobby and potential career path.

Six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has recently been critical about the costs of getting into motorsport and spoken of his desire to help increase more diversity in F1, and Richards feels it is imperative that the outlook starts to change after being “too purist” in the past.

“For far too long, we’ve been too purist about who we are,” Richards said at Autosport International.

“If you don’t have a crash helmet and a racing car and a competition license, you’re not one of us. There are lots of people out there on the periphery.

“We’ve engaged now with the indoor karting world, with Team Sport, so there is now a championship going on in that area. They have a ridiculous number of people going through their places each year.

“We’re talking a million people, and we need to engage with these people. We need to talk to the youngsters in every touchpoint, in the e-gaming for instance, and bring them into the fold.

“The other advantage of that of course is the larger our community, the more influence we have with government, the more support we’re likely to get, and the more we safeguard our sport for the long-term.

“That’s the end game. The end game here is to make sure we have motorsport in this country for a long time to come.”

Asked if Motorsport UK is embracing the rise of esports and the potential doors that can open to real world racing, Richards replied: “We have to. You can’t ignore these things.

“It would be lovely if everyone had the opportunity to race the real cars, but they don’t. The way you can engage is in your bedroom on a Playstation, so why not embrace those people?

“They’re as much enthusiasts as we are, and there’s a place for everybody in our sport, and we should be encouraging that.”

 

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