Royal Marine veterans Steve McCulley and Paul Vice MC will make their first British GT appearance together as Invictus Games Racing co-drivers this weekend during the championship’s season finale at Donington Park.
The duo, who were injured during the same tour of Afghanistan in 2011, have been part of IGR’s innovative Jaguar GT4 programme since its first British GT outing two years ago. However, they have always raced separately alongside the team’s Pro, Matthew George, as part their rehabilitation.
David Appleby Engineering, which originally built and now prepare the world’s only GT4-spec Jaguars, has made huge improvements to the F-Type SVR this year. Indeed, McCulley and George claimed Jaguar’s first British GT podium since 1997 at Oulton Park’s season opener, while the latter – who has shared the car with either McCulley or Vice at every round thus far – also lies third in GT4’s Pro/Am standings.
“We are going for something a little different for the final round, with Steve and I racing together as an Am/Am pairing,” said Vice. “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 are up against it this weekend, but we will give it everything we can. One thing is for sure, we will definitely be the quickest ‘all disabled’ driver pairing on the whole grid!”
McCulley also paid tribute to George, who by stepping aside this weekend has given up his chance to finish third in the Pro/Am championship.
“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,” said McCulley.
“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.
“As Vicey said, we will certainly be up against it this weekend, when we’ll have to pit ourselves against all the Pro/Am and Silver Cup (Pro/Pro) pairings, but I’m relishing the opportunity and challenge.”