Hands On Driving Academy
Founded in 2020 by James Rogerson and James Smith, MD, Hands On Driving Academy was created to address the needs of the Veteran community that suffered severe injuries, specifically focusing on individuals that were unable to drive without hand control equipment.
Hands On Driving Academy proudly operates at 98% funds to program, sticking to what we believe a nonprofit should be. An organization focused on doing good and fulfilling underserved needs.
Primarily supported by individual public donations, grants and corporate sponsorships.
We are proud that both the SCCA and Federation International Automobile (FIA) have given us support and guidance. MPS Corporation and Guido-Simplex, two of the largest and oldest hand control manufacturers have become partners in our project. MPS Corporation is the US distributor for Guido-Simplex. MPS is assisting with design and development of new equipment for our current school fleet and future cars for our graduates. Our initiative with MPS is to develop relatively low-cost equipment that allows the driver to keep both hands on the wheel almost continuously utilizing equipment designed for modern Utility Vehicles
- Active participation with team and adrenaline sport leads to rapid emotional growth.
- The team atmosphere inherent with motorsports
- Team, camaraderie, shared mission and experience, high-energy, excitement, adrenaline and contribution.
Prior to building our first hand-control car we approached multiple veterans groups to confirm that we were going to be able serve an actual need. VetMotorsports already has a relationship with the SCCA and the SCCA Foundation. Their primary focus has been assisting their target group to enter the motorsports industry in an employment capacity. The sponsored two of our first three student drivers. Ranger Road is an endurance racing team based in California. They plan on sending drivers that are running in series that do not require formal licensing to our school in order to advance their racing opportunities. USMC Racing is another partner that serves the veteran community specializing in assisting those that suffer from PTSD.
Our students are not initially confident that they will be able to meet the demands and requirements to actually race. However, after just a few joint exercises with the “able bodied” students they realize that they can perform at an acceptable level. These pioneers have opened the door to others, and we have recognized the need to at least double our fleet.
Rehabilitation Benefits & Sustainability
Unlike many other recreational programs, the sense of belonging doesn’t end at the checkered flag. The United Kingdom with the teams such as Mission Motorsports whose purpose is to “Race, Retrain and Recover” military Veterans has paved the way for hand control teams in endurance racing. Their 24 hour team is one of the closest knit groups on pit lane.
Our supports continue, for as long as they choose to remain part of our team and racing community. All students will be able to return for refresher coaching and possibly redirection to other roles in the race community.
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Check Us Out on the News!
Featured on ABC 13 Eyewitness news, Army veteran Dillon Cannon discusses finding a new course in life with racing. For Cannon, helping other disabled veterans find adventure behind the wheel is even more rewarding than hitting the track himself.
“I’ve found that since being in a wheelchair, I like using my story to help inspire other veterans to still be independent and see that they can still have a normal lifestyle, they’re just going need a little assistance,” said Cannon.