Billy Monger crash: Online campaign hits £600,000

Billy Monger Image copyright Jakob Ebrey Photography Image caption Billy Monger has been described as a "huge character" by his team

An online campaign set up to raise money for a teenage racing driver who had part of both legs amputated after a crash at Donington Park has raised more than £600,000.

Billy Monger, 17, was airlifted to hospital after he hit another car on the track during a race on Sunday.

His injuries were confirmed by his racing team on Wednesday.

A Just Giving page was set up and saw Formula 1 driver Jenson Button contribute £15,000 towards it.

Steven Hunter, head of Billy's team JHR Developments, started fundraising to help the 17 year old "return to a full and active life".

#billywhizz

He said it had been a "heart-wrenching" time following the crash that left everyone fearing the worst.

The donations came in swiftly over the past day and the £621,500 mark was achieved earlier, sailing well past the initial target of £260,000.

F1 driver Max Verstappen donated £15,000 and Billy's F4 former rival Devlin DeFrancesco made the biggest donation, of £26,000.

Hundreds of people have sent messages of support to the teenager, from Charlwood in Surrey, and a hashtag, #billywhizz, has been widely shared on social media.

Image copyright Jakob Ebrey Photography
Image caption Billy has been described as a "fantastic young man"

Scott Mitchell from Autosport Magazine, who has known the teenager since he was nine years old, told BBC Radio 5 live that Billy was "aware of his injuries" but was in "optimistic mood".

"His family, friends and teammates are overwhelmed by donations," he said.

"No-one has a bad word to say about Billy. Everyone likes him. He's a fantastic young man.

"He's the kind of character that will be able to pull through."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Billy's plight has prompted support from the global motorsport community

F1 ace Jenson Button appealed on his Instagram account to people to help the boy following news of his injuries.

And Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who has 4.32 million followers on Twitter, tweeted: "Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, @BillyMonger".

Billy was competing in the Formula 4 British Championship, a motor racing series which features a mix of professional motor racing teams and privately funded drivers.

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