UK Youth to Fly the Motorsport Flag

Britain is a global powerhouse of motorsport, evidenced by the performance of Sir Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and George Russell over the course of the weekend’s British Grand Prix. Sustaining this dominant position relies on the Drive to Survive generation getting behind the wheel, volunteering or working in the industry, so says the sport’s national governing body at the start of a new awareness campaign launching today. 

With almost 7 million viewers of the Netflix series in the UK, 31% (or 2,108,000) of whom are under 29, National Motorsport Week is an initiative to convert this new legion of young motorsport fans into active participants to sustain the country’s leadership status for another generation. 

Motorsport UK believes that the country’s continued success as a leading nation in the top echelons of motorsport from Formula 1 and sports car racing to the World Rally Championship, as well as the country’s dominance in engineering that sees seven of the world’s 10 Formula 1 teams based in the UK, is all powered by a thriving level of grassroots participation in the sport. 

David Richards CBE, Motorsport UK’s Chair and 1981 World Rally Champion said, “Motorsport is one of the country’s ‘special sectors’ that puts it alongside music, theatre, film or the gaming industry as areas where the UK is universally acknowledged as a world leader. But despite the fact that we’ve produced 66% more Formula 1 world champions than any other country and arguably we breed the best motor racing teams and engineers, we cannot afford to be complacent. And the engine room of our sport is the depth of active participation in all forms of competition that take place every weekend up and down the country.”  

He continued, “Over the past six seasons of Drive to Survive, we’ve witnessed a remarkable demographic shift. Thanks to the series, motorsport now has incredible currency with the younger generation. Our task as the national governing body of the sport is to move this interest from passive engagement to active participation. National Motorsport Week is designed to do just this and promote the huge diversity of disciplines, events, clubs and opportunities to prospective participants to power the nation’s future success in the sport.” 

Key to National Motorsport Week, believes Richards, is disavowing the myths that motorsport participation requires significant sums of money to get started, or indeed that the sport can only be experienced from behind the wheel. National Motorsport Week starts later this week on Thursday July 11, the beginning of the summer season of motorsport starting with the blue riband Goodwood Festival of Speed and book-ended with the Formula E London E-Prix on Sunday July 21.  

As well as celebrating the vibrancy and health of motorsport from grassroots to international competition, the week will inform and promote the many ways to compete without need for prior experience or significant budgets with taster events happening across the country. In addition, National Motorsport Week will also communicate other ways to engage in motorsport, ranging from educational opportunities for wannabe F1 engineers through to volunteering as a marshal or official to keep the busy schedule of events running each weekend throughout the year. 

Based on a Motorsport UK commissioned public survey, 31% of those aged under 29 expressed an interest in participating in motorsport; in raw numbers, this is 653,480 under 29 year old UK viewers of Drive to Survive who represent potential new motorsport competitors and volunteers. Cost and access to opportunities are the main perceived barriers to novice participation, so National Motorsport Week will present a new website launched today at, a comprehensive programme of information via digital channels, a nationwide programme of taster events delivered by the national network of more than 600 motor clubs and promote schools and universities programmes all intended to inform and encourage motorsport participation and uptake.