A professional racing driver from Witham is lucky to be alive after his brakes failed during a race in Abu Dhabi.

James Winslow, 34, was competing in the Gulf 12 Hours at the Yas Marina Circuit, an F1 track, when he hit a wall at 240kph, equivalent to 149mph.

Mr Winslow managed to climb out the passenger side before losing consciousness and was rushed to hospital with a fractured spine in two places, a broken sternum, fractured wrist, internal bruising, concussion, vertigo from the head trauma and a bruised spleen.

He said: “At that moment I thought it was game over, the speeds were huge.

“I tried everything possible - pumping the brake, turning the wheel hard to the left, trying to change down the gears, but nothing seemed to work.

“Lucky my head and neck device and the unbelievable strength of the LMP3 [Le Mans Prototype] car saved my life.

“After the impact of 41-Gs I managed to climb out the passenger side of the car as my door was trapped under the barrier.”

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

Mr Winslow first gained his love of racing during Go Karting at Til- bury, London and Rye House at the age of nine.

He is now a professional racing driver for the Graff Racing team and travels non-stop, with homes in Witham and Sydney.

Mr Winslow said: “It’s been the most painful experience of my life.

“I was in Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi for seven days. I checked myself out as I was there alone and flew straight back to Sydney to recover on Christmas Eve.

“I’m in a body brace for six weeks and the full recovery will be two to three months.

“I’ll be back stronger than ever and ready in time for Le Mans 24 Hour this year.”

A fundraising page has been set up. Visit: https://www.gofundme.com/jameswinslowrecovery