Charting a road to recovery through Motorsport


Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

Excite, engage, and empower, that is the triple “E” formula of Operation Motorsport, a revved-up not-for-profit that helps ill, injured, and wounded military members and disabled veterans in their recovery.

There are two separate not-for-profits, one in Raleigh, NC, and the other in Brighton, ON. MWO (Retired) Diezel Lodder is the CEO.

“Everything in the military, including your identity, is all about the team, whether you are an aviator, soldier, or sailor,” he says. “When you become injured and are no longer able to be part of that team, it creates a host of personal issues and problems that are hard for many people to overcome.”

His brand of recovery is the elite sports car racing industry. He believes that industry has the structure, camaraderie, and team-oriented environment to help those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Operational Stress Injury (OSI).

He was diagnosed with a form of OSI during his career, but was able to recover while still serving.

“I was finally healthy when I released and made a successful transition from the military into the auto racing industry, which is my new passion in life. But I believe it was my involvement in motorsports that saved my life. I have found a solution that can transform other lives. It would be a shame not to share it.”

Operation Motorsport’s three-stage recovery program begins with the entry-level Excite Program. Working in a team, “beneficiaries” participate in gateway-to-sport events such as car corals hosted by auto industry manufacturers at racetracks. It is more than a day away from home. Excite is a structured program that draws on diversionary therapy using motorsport activities as a form of healing.

Stage two, the Engage Program, assesses an individual’s goals and finds opportunities for academic studies and other training for permanent job placements. The goal is to help them become race team crew members, such as a tire technician, fuel technician, or driver assistant. to name a few.   

“Its not just about turning wrenches, there is so much more to this,” says Lodder. “We try to expand on all the different employment opportunities, so its not just about people working in the pits.”

The final step is the Empower Program where a veteran continues their journey of recovery through permanent job placements in the auto racing industry or callings in other career fields brought about by this recovery program.

“It’s not the good-bye stage. They can stay in the Operation Motorsport family as volunteers or move on,” adds Lodder.

To date, three beneficiaries have found permanent careers in the auto racing industry. In less than four years since its creation in Canada, Operation Motorsport has assisted 58 beneficiaries complete its in-person programs and helped 14 others through its iRacing league.

The cost of rehabilitation, professional gear, and equipment does not come cheap, says Lodder. Operation Motorsports raises most of its money through private donations but has also formed some notable corporate partnerships with auto racing industry giants. Race car seat manufacturer RECARO provides the funding to allow beneficiaries to participate in the iRacing league at no cost to them, as well as supplying racing seats as a league champions prize.

Cyber security giants CrowdStrike operates its own racing team and recently formed a new partnership with Operation Motorsport. It will see five of its beneficiaries become part of their CrowdStrike Racing team for the 14 race 2021 SRO Motorsports America season.


As Operation Motorsport builds on its mission, support continues to grow on both sides of the border. Lodder says a big part of that success has been by expanding its team of volunteers.

One of its newest additions is Victoria-based Ammunition Technician, WO (Retired) Darren Scott.

Scott served 28 years in the Canadian Armed Forces and worked with Lodder at Canada’s air base in Lahr, Germany. He joined the non-profit in December 2020 and volunteers as one of two ambassadors for the Operation Motorsports Academy. He and a counterpart from the United States are designing and building a one-day crash course to help those unfamiliar with the auto racing industry understand its workings.

“Other than catching the occasional race on television, I am completely new to the sport. So, it’s been a complete learning curve for me,” says Scott. “That’s the great thing about Operation Motorsports and everyone who is involved, its all about teamwork, you don’t need to be an auto racing aficionado either.”

WO (Retired) Darren Scott

WO (Retired) Darren Scott

Later this spring, a group of beneficiaries from Canada will be the first to take the Operation Motorsports Academy coursing. After completing the instruction, the beneficiaries will then join Canada’s Twoth Autosport Racing team.

They will take part in the Canadian Touring Car TCR Championship to be held at the Calabogie Motorsports Park near Ottawa in May 2021. Scott will also participate in the academy coursing and plans to become a member of the Twoth race team.

He will reap the benefits of the team-oriented therapy because he is also on a path to mental health healing.

Scott was recently diagnosed with PTSD and depression and is undergoing treatment. Getting involved in the program in an ambassadorial role and as a beneficiary has been a new beginning for him.

“The team concept is all about feeling a sense of self-worth, pride, and purpose, and gaining a completely new support network through other volunteers at Operation Motorsport has been a game-changer for me,” he says. 

To find out more about Operation Motorsport and how to become involved visit


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