Erebus Motorsport is shining a light on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), by joining forces with non-for-profit initiative Racing with Autism Australia (RWAA).
Initially launched in Canada, Racing with Autism aims to raise awareness and acceptance of ASD by highlighting talented individuals within motorsport who are on the Autism Spectrum.
Founder and Director of RWAA, Jessica Benge is thrilled by the opportunity to attract widespread attention to the foundation with the help of Erebus Motorsport and its Academy.
“One of the many purposes of RWAA is to support racers by sharing their stories, including their achievements and their day to day struggles, with the hope of not just gaining awareness for Autism but acceptance and understanding,” Benge said.
“This program is inspired by the Canadian program, who share the story of the inspirational Austin Riley who is a very successful racer within North America.
“Austin has an incredible touch on inspiring others on the Autism Spectrum to achieve their goals and to share their stories, and is known all over the globe.”
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects, among other things, the way an individual relates to his or her environment and their interactions with other people.
An estimated 1 in 70 people in Australia are on the autism spectrum, with males four-times as likely as females to be reported as having autism.
Combining her passion for racing and disability support, Benge’s organisation currently represents twenty young drivers across Australia in a variety of categories including motocross, karting and speedway.
“We offer personable support, advertisement, financial support and we encourage our racers to discuss any needs they have, to see how we can best support them,” Benge said.
“We do our best to offer support at and away from race tracks and are building a team of mentors to help encourage the growth of this project.”
Team boss Betty Klimenko recognizes the importance of not only empowering those with autism, but providing those without it with a deeper level of understanding and empathy.
“It is a huge pleasure to help in any way we can,” Klimenko said.
“With family on the autism spectrum, the cause is very close to my heart.
“As a sport, and as a team in the spotlight, I believe we have an obligation to use our platform to help raise awareness for initiatives like Racing with Autism.
“There’s a stigma around those on the Autism Spectrum and we want to help drive that change.”
RWAA will bring those affected to Supercars events during the season to experience the action and go behind-the-scenes with Erebus Motorsport.