Fought together, injured together, rehabilitation together and now racing together!
Invictus Games Racing, the collaboration project between the Invictus Games Foundation and James Holder, co-Founder of the Superdry brand, recently saw the final race of the season in the British GT Championships. Royal Marine veterans Steve McCulley and Paul Vice MC, who competed in the Invictus Games London 2014, raced together as an Amateur pairing in the final round of the British GT Championship at Donington Park on the 14/15 Sep 19.
The pair came 1st in the GT4 Am/Am category and 16th in GT4 Overall. Technically, they were the only car in the Am/Am class, however the position would have put them 4th in the Pro/Am class!
Invictus Games Racing Professional driver Matt George had stepped aside for British GT’s iconic 300th race, allowing the two former Commandos to race together, having fought alongside each other in Afghanistan, where they both suffered life-changing injuries in 2011. The previous eight races had been split equally, with Steve and Paul sharing the Jaguar GT4 as a Pro/Am pairing with professional driver Matt George.
At the end of the season, the team can now reflect on how far they have come in such a short time. Plagued with bad luck in 2018, the engineers and mechanics at David Appleby Engineering dug deep over the winter months to strip and rebuild the cars in a bid to work through a number of issues the team had encountered during their first season, which for all intents and purposes turned into an R&D year.
The team had a quality driver testing programme, supported by the Henry Surtees Foundation, in the lead up to the start of the season, but no one anticipated how well the team would do, when at the first ‘double header’ at Outlon Park in April, Steve and Matt finished 1st and 2nd in class, as well as picking up a 3rd in GT4 overall in Race 2. Further podiums for Paul and Matt at Snetterton, then again for Steve and Matt at Spa has meant Matt sits 3rd , Steve 6th and Paul 9th in the GT4 Pro/Am class as they enter the final round at Donington.
“We went for something a little different for the final round, with Steve and I racing together as an Am/Am pairing. We have come so far from last year, where we were wondering if the car would make it to the end of each race, to this year where we have had a number of visits to the podium. This is testament to the team at David Appleby Engineering, but also to Matt George, who has provided me with exceptional driver coaching throughout.
For me to finish the season with Steve, who was blown up shortly before I was whilst we were serving with 42 Commando eight years ago, is truly something special. It just goes to show that with hard work, dedication, determination and a lot of cheerfulness in adversity, anything can happen.
We were up against it, but we gave it everything we can. One thing is for sure, we were definitely the quickest ‘all disabled’ driver pairing on the whole grid!”
“Vicey and I have been through a lot, having fought in Afghanistan together, injured on the same tour together and then going through rehabilitation together, so to be able to race together in what is the pinnacle of GT racing in the UK is incredible.
It has been an honour to have driven with and learnt from Matt George over the last two years, as he has put in so much effort to bring us on as drivers. Over that period I have noticed a real synergy between the military and motorsport teams, however, I did not appreciate the impact that working with the guys and girls at David Appleby Engineering would not only have on me personally, but all of us as a team. The engineers and mechanics have shown steely determination and commitment throughout and it has been a real pleasure to work with everyone.”