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Nicolas Hamilton has been his half-brother's biggest fan for as long as he can remember but now he hopes to win recognition for his own achievements on the track.

The Briton's debut in the Renault Clio Cup series will be at Brands Hatch on April 2-3 and his name, although sure to attract plenty of attention, will not be the only thing that makes him remarkable.While 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton was gearing up for Formula One's Australian season-opener, the 19-year-old tested far from the media spotlight in a much slower car at the Rockingham raceway in central England on Thursday.

A sufferer of cerebral palsy, or spastic diplegia which affects his legs and leaves him weaker on the right side of his body, Hamilton is battling more than just his track rivals.

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"I am a complete novice. I have got to begin at the bottom and then work my way up. But just to be out there is a great achievement for the challenges I've had to overcome," he told Reuters in an interview.

"The idea of this wasn't to inspire people. My aim was to just race. That's what I wanted to do. But if I can inspire people on the way and help people, then that's a bonus.

"I'd love to see disabled people at kart races or indoor karting or whatever. I just want them to be enjoying motorsport and be part of it," Hamilton added.

"I go to an indoor kart event and there's no disabled people there, I'm the only one there and I do believe that some people think they wouldn't be able to do it because of their legs or whatever they suffer.

"But trust me if you want it hard enough and you really want to race then give it a go."

With Lewis breaking down barriers as Formula One's first black world champion and father Anthony, who never let his humble background or lack of money stand in the way of his dreams, Nicolas is not short of role models.

Yet it is the name of Italian Alex Zanardi, the former F1 driver who lost both legs in a near-fatal IndyCar crash and came back to forge a new career racing touring cars, who makes the teenager's eyes light up.

"I met Alex in September and just to see him and the way he approaches things and the adaptations he's had to his car and whatever is a massive inspiration," he said.

"If he can do it I definitely can do it."

His mother Linda, watching from the pitwall in front of empty stands before buying lunch for her son from a lone burger van at the end of the paddock, looked on with some apprehension.

"I'm happy with it. It's what he wants to do. Obviously I'm nervous but anybody would be really under the circumstances," she told Reuters.

"He looks quite confident, he's listening to what the team are telling him and he's taking it easy. He did push last time he was here and it went horribly wrong. So he's learned that he needs to just progress slowly and not rush into it too much."

Hamilton's first test at Rockingham last week ended after he hit the wall early in the session and on Thursday he was around three seconds off the fastest time in a car with modified pedals.

Linda, who is Lewis's step-mother, said Nicolas had always loved going to races but only shown interest in competing in the last year.

"I think it was Lewis who suggested maybe he should try and get into a car because he was so good on the simulation games," she said.

A test in a regular Porsche showed he could be quick.

"I've loved motorsports from a young age," said Hamilton. "I started following Lewis when I was two or maybe even younger.

"I always wanted to race karts but never really had the opportunity because of Lewis, which I am happy with.

"I finally got the opportunity when I was seven and I crashed quite heavily so then that put me off racing.

"It wasn't until I was 15 that I got back into a kart and that I realised that I could do it," added Hamilton.

"At the moment it's a hobby. But it's step one. It's both. It's step one of a complete career, I hope.

"I love driving the car, I just love racing and everything about it. So let's hope the career doesn't stop here and that this is just the beginning," said Hamilton.

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