Celebrity Race Across The World’s Billy Monger’s life including terrifying crash

As Race Across The World returns to our screens this week, fans of the BBC show will no doubt be impressed to hear that the upcoming series has received a very special Celebrity revamp.

Every one of this year’s competitors will be a household name from across music, drama and sport, with a number of famous faces including McFly’s Harry Judd, All Saint’s singer Melanie Platt and even Good Morning Britain’s weatherman Alex Beresford taking on the gruelling challenge from Wednesday, 20 September.

One famous sporting star hoping to be the first to complete the gruelling race from Marrakesh, Morocco to Tromso in Norway is Formula One ace Billy Monger.

But who exactly is Billy and what is his life like off screen?

Early Life

Billy Edmund Albert Monger was born on 5 May 1999, and first started his life in the leafy village of Charlwood in Surrey.

From an early age, the sport mad youngster had been enthralled by the fast paced life of racing, after watching his father, a former kart racer in action.

First getting behind the wheel at the tender age of just six years old, Billy proved to be a natural born racer and began to perfect his impeccable driving skills throughout the next decade or so of his life.

In 2016, Billy successfully joined the F4 British Championship with JHR developments, and even took three podiums before finishing 12th in the championship rankings overall.

He remained with the team for the following season, and got off to a promising start, however tragedy would soon strike, just three weeks before his 18th birthday.

Life Changing Accident

On 16 April 2017, Billy was involved in a terrifying car crash at the Donington race, when he crashed at high speed into the back of Finnish driver Patrik Pasma.

As a result of the crash, Billy was left fighting for his life after he almost died as a result of his injuries.

Thankfully, medics were able to save his life, but it came at the cost of both his legs, as they were badly damaged and required amputation.

Billy’s left leg was amputated high above the knee, leaving him with a short stump of his thigh, while his right leg is longer, having been amputated below the knee.

This extra length and preservation of the joint means he is still able to drive a modified car today.

Following the accident, a crowdfunding page was set up by his team to raise money to help with his recovery, with the fund raising over £500,000 in the first 24 hours alone.

A number of well known F1 stars went on to show support of Billy following his ordeal, including stars such as Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Unwilling to leave the sport he loved behind, even despite his crash, Billy was keen to get back to racing and just a few short months after losing both his legs, was back on the track in a specially adapted car to highlight the capabilities of disabled motorsport specialists.

Other Projects

As well as his F4 beginnings, in June 2018, Billy was given the chance to drive a Formula 1 racing car for the first time when he tested a Sauber C30 at the Rockingham Motor Speedway.

The unique vehicle had been converted to match the hand controls present in the Carlin BRDC British Formula 3 car he had previously raced.

Three years later in 2021, Billy also took part in Billy’s Big Challenge, a charity initiative for comic relief which saw him cover a distance of 140miles by walking, kayaking and cycling.

He raised over £3 million for the charity as a result.

As well as his charity work, Billy has also been a regular pundit of Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage, and was previously the co-commentator for the W series.

Celebrity Race Across the World

Ahead of his debut on the upcoming series, Billy told the BBC about his motivations for taking part in the programme alongside his sister.

“We’ve spoken about travelling before, but it would probably be a little bit different to what I imagine this is going to be like – in terms of doing everything on such a budget and staying in hostels and being tight on money for food.

“With this opportunity, I spoke to Bon about it, and she said it could be quite cool. So, we sat down and watched the previous series and got more and more into it and then decided why not!”

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