After Losing His Legs in Horrific Crash, Billy Monger Vows to Race Again
The teenage racer is determined to get back behind the wheel.
After teenage Formula 4 racer Billy Monger lost both his lower legs in a brutal crash at Donington Park over Easter weekend, the racing world came together to support him. Well-wishes from F1 legends, a crowdfunding campaign that raised over $1 million, and a fundraising hashtag emblazoned on the cars at the recent Sochi Grand Prix all gave Monger a much-needed boost as he begins the extensive recovery and rehabilitation process. Now at home after just over three weeks in the hospital, he wants everyone to know he's "touched" by all the support and eager to get back in the driver's seat.
Just prior to being discharged this weekend, Monger told BBC Breakfast on camera from his hospital room that it was "amazing" to see the outpouring from fans and fellow racers, including a letter signed by F1 luminaries like Lewis Hamilton and Niki Lauda. In the week after the crash, amidst multiple surgeries and an induced coma, it was reported that Monger was already talking about learning to use a hand clutch - and now that we're hearing from him for the first time, it's abundantly clear that losing his legs won't be enough to stop him from racing again.
"All the support just makes me more determined to get back in the car and get racing again. That's the goal," he said, according to the Press Association via ESPN. His mother isn't as enthused, though, joking with the reporter that she'd probably "need a tranquilizer" when that time comes.
Having turned 18 during his hospitalization, he celebrated his release on Saturday with his first legal pint of beer at a nearby pub before heading home with his family. He has a lengthy recovery process ahead, but the future for amputee racers can be pretty bright - Alex Zanardi is a well-known example of how prosthetics and hand controls can get a driver back into the winner's circle after a lifechanging crash. More recently, a quadruple amputee ran in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year, so Monger's goal is absolutely within reach.
Still, his positive attitude and determination mask what sounds like an impossibly difficult time for him, his family, and his racing team. His mother referred to the crash as "all your nightmares rolled into one," while the head of JHR racing called it "the most traumatic thing any of us have been through, full stop." But from the sounds of it, Monger is more than ready to focus on the future.