CDW is pleased to announce our sponsorship of Aaron Morgan at Team Brit
Aged 15, CDW solutions specialist Aaron Morgan was paralysed from the waist down in a serious MotoX accident. The event changed his life, but it didn't stop him following his dreams and pursuing his passion for motorsport.
Fortunately, his racing career didn't have to end there. Aaron has been able to continue his passion by driving modified, hand-operated racing cars, and in September last year joined the roster of Team BRIT – a team of disabled drivers that participates in races with able-bodied competitors.
Earlier this year, CDW was proud to announce its sponsorship of Aaron. The funding will enable Aaron and the team to compete as the season restarts in August. In this Q&A, Aaron discusses his incredible story, his passion for racing – and why work-life and life on the track are not as different as you might expect.
Learn more about Aaron and his racing journey in his Q & A.
Q: How did you get into racing?
A: My dad was a successful go-kart racer, so I picked up my love of racing from him. Some of my youngest memories are of me and my sister half-asleep driving to events up and down the country in the early hours of the morning. He was also very successful, so that's probably where I got my competitive streak!
Q: You spent most of your younger years in MotoX – how did that start?
I got to know a lot of people through my dad's go-karting and the racing community around that. My Grandad wanted to buy me a quadbike for Christmas, but my parents saw that they can flip and bought me a MotoX bike instead – and I fell in love with it. I was seven when I started riding.
As I got older my competitive drive kicked in and I wanted to race against others. I joined my local MotoX club and I made my way up from 60CC to 125CC – a bike with a top speed of around 45mph.
Then when I was 15, I had a major accident. It was on one of my favourite tracks and I have no idea what happened – frankly, I wouldn't want to, because I would constantly ask myself why I made that mistake. I was paralysed from the waist down and spent 6 weeks in a medically induced coma.
Q: How did you get back into racing after such a traumatic event?
I love competitive team sports – whether that's MotoX, go-karting, or car racing. It might seem as though the race rests on the driver, but even with something like motorsport, you work with a team and you have a vibrant community around that. I just couldn't imagine life without it.
Still, in the immediate aftermath of my accident, I thought I might have to. I spent my 16th birthday in hospital, and I was feeling very down. But everything changed when a motivational therapist at the hospital told me disabled people could learn to drive with hand-operated controls at 16. My eyes lit up. Soon after I was able to start taking lessons, and it wasn't long before I passed my test.
At first, I tried other sports like wheelchair tennis, archery, and table tennis. But I quickly realised that my heart was in racing. From then on it was my sole focus to get back into motorsport – and hand-controlled cars gave me a way to do that, on a level playing field. I was lucky enough for a family friend to offer to build me a modified BMW E30 and get me back on the track.
Q. How difficult was it to get back on the track?
Every driver who wants to race has to apply for a license – that's standard procedure whether you're disabled or able-bodied. To get that license you have to take the ARDS test. I was able to pass on the day, and if I wasn't disabled that would've been enough to get me on the track.
There are extra challenges for disabled drivers. You have to reveal your medical records and show that you can evacuate your car within six seconds in case of an emergency – not glamorous, as you imagine. Then you have to gain track experience via a series of sprint events.
It was tough, but I had my heart set on overcoming these hurdles and getting back on the track.
Q: Talk us through your racing career and your move to Team BRIT
In 2008 I became the youngest disabled person ever to hold a National B race licence, which in itself was a massive personal achievement. I raced in the Production BMW Championship for around three years before I moved onto the BMW Compact Cup.
Then in 2019 I was contacted by Dave Player, founder and principal of Team BRIT. Dave's a hugely inspirational guy and incredibly passionate about racing. He set up the team with the fundamental belief that we can and should be competing on a level-playing field with able-bodied competitors. Motorsport is the only sport that can offer this: as soon as I am in the car, I leave my wheelchair behind and I'm not defined by my disability.
He asked me to race with Team BRIT in the upcoming season – of course, I said yes.
Q: How did you find joining Team BRIT?
From a driving perspective, it was incredibly exciting. Team BRIT's hand-control technology is the best in the business.
Most road cars for disabled people use a push-pull system which requires you to have one hand off the steering wheel. Also, with a push-pull system, you can only accelerate or brake – not both at the same time. For disabled racers, this immediately sets you at a disadvantage.
What Team BRIT has developed is world-leading hand controls where everything is on the wheel - including electronic braking. This means you can always have two hands on the wheel. What's incredible is that the controls are built to be modifiable, so they can be adapted for whoever is in the driving seat, whether they are able-bodied or not. It also means that drivers with very different disabilities can race as part of the same team.
Q: How has CDW's sponsorship helped?
It's fundamental to Team BRIT that we compete on a level playing field with other teams. We're not a charity and both the team and drivers have to find sponsorship to help cover their costs.
CDW's involvement gets me on the track in a very literal sense. It's great to work at a company that is willing to invest in one of its employees as they have done.
Q: How does your racing career compare to life at CDW?
The two lifestyles aren't as different as you might expect. At its heart CDW is a people business – it's got a great community and solid values. Our team works together to solve problems for customers that are often very complex with lots of moving parts, and a good technical knowledge is essential. Not only that, but CDW's a dynamic environment. There are always new, unexpected challenges that the team must overcome.
A lot of that is also true of racing. Yes, the driving itself is fast paced, but there's a lot more strategy behind the scenes. The races I'm taking part in this year are a good example – each is only an hour long and includes a mandatory driver change, so communication around that timing is vital. And there is a lot of technical problem-solving that goes on before and during the race, often under intense pressure. We work as a team. From the drivers to the mechanics to the people managing the financials and logistics, it all has to come together to make race day a success.