Wakefield racing driver who cannot use his hands or feet builds his own car

LABOUR OF LOVE: Chris Meister behind the wheel of his Phoenix. Picture by SWNS.
LABOUR OF LOVE: Chris Meister behind the wheel of his Phoenix. Picture by SWNS.

A racing driver who was the first quadriplegic in Britain to get a motor sport licence has built his own car - despite being unable to use his hands or feet.

Chris Meister, 50, from Wakefield has been confined to a wheelchair since a motocross accident in 1984 when he was just 17 years old.

LABOUR OF LOVE: Chris Meister behind the wheel of his Phoenix. Picture courtesy of SWNS.

LABOUR OF LOVE: Chris Meister behind the wheel of his Phoenix. Picture courtesy of SWNS.

But he continued to indulge his love of motor sport and made history when he was granted a licence to race in an adapted car when he was 28.

Now he has designed and built his own car from scratch - including a clever system which enables him to accelerate, brake and change gear using the steering wheel.

Chris completed the project despite only being able to use tools with a clenched hand.

The 330bhp car - nicknamed ‘Phoenix’ - made its public debut at a race event at the weekend.

The car finished in 9th place in the drag strip race - 0.29 seconds ahead of a Dodge Viper - and 5th in the handling circuit, an impressive 0.53 seconds ahead of a Ferrari V8.

Chris said: “I designed it, built it and fabricated it myself - it’s definitely built, not bought.

“I don’t like to throw money at it but my family, friends and people I know have been very good to me.

“I’m often only a few seconds behind cars that someone has spent £60,000 on, which makes you think really.”

Chris’ condition means he cannot fully extend his fingers so he relies on friends and family to help and transport the vehicle.

He managed to use a fabricator and standard tools during the four-year build - but only clutching the tools with a clenched fist.

The finished vehicle has a unique control system designed by Chris which has a ‘twist grip’ throttle.

Chris pushes forward on the steering wheel to brake, pulls back to change up a gear and downshifts are performed via a paddle on the wheel.

The project was completed with friends and family to support him logistically and with the heavier machinery.

Chris added: “Everyone needs an interest and I’m not into fishing or hand gliding. It’s something I can do on a level playing field. I’ve found something out there for me. ”