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Paraplegic Racer Bailly to Drive CMR Bentley in Endurance

After racing for SRT41 at Le Mans, Nigel Bailly will drive a CMR Bentley in GTWC Europe…

Photo: CMR supplied

CMR has announced that paraplegic driver Nigel Bailly will race for the team in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup this year.

Bailly, who was injured in a motorcycle accident aged 14, will use hand controls to pilot a Bentley Continental GT3 during the five-round Endurance Cup season which includes the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa in late July.

The Belgian has previously driven for the SRT41 team founded by quadruple amputee Frederic Sausset, who successfully completed the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.

Bailly joined SRT41 for its latest Le Mans attempt last year with a modified Oreca 07 Gibson that he shared with Takuma Aoki and Matthieu Lahaye.

The Endurance Cup season with CMR will signify Bailly’s first race program outside of SRT41.

“From the first contact with Charly [Bourachot, CMR team principal] I immediately felt confident,” he said.

“The CMR team is renowned for its taste for challenges, Charly is a workaholic.

“Finding a team capable of embarking on a such a challenge is not so obvious, and I thank CMR and its technical team for their welcome. Moreover, this great project would not be possible without the unconditional support of my partners.”

CMR has yet to name the other drivers who will join Bailly in the Bentley lineup.

The French team last year entered one Continental GT3 in Endurance and two in Sprint, keeping Bentley on the grid despite the company’s withdrawal of factory funding from its sports car racing program at the end of 2020.

Bailly’s participation in the Endurance season comes shortly after the news that former IndyCar competitor Robert Wickens, who drives using hand controls after sustaining spinal cord injuries in an accident, will race in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge full-time.

“Nigel is a real enthusiast, who loves car racing and does everything to live his dream,” said Bourachot.

“Obviously, the project of entering a Bentley in Endurance for Nigel immediately appealed to me, and I am delighted that it will materialize in 2022.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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