Children as young as 11 are driving sportscars and lorries at a Swindon car club.

The club teaches under-17-year-olds to drive on private property to driving test standard, with some completing advanced driving tests.

The 50-year-old Under 17 Car Club recently expanded to have regular sessions at the Science Museum at Wroughton Airfield, along with three other Wiltshire sites.

Robin Stagg, a committee member, said: “I've got a 14-year-old son, he's been driving for two years. I would trust him to drive my car on the road.”

Robin’s children have had the opportunity to drive a Porsche Panamera, a seven-and-a-half-tonne lorry and a bus.

“My youngest was 12 when he drove an Arctic lorry”, remembers Robin. The around 250 members drive their parents’ or other children’s parents’ cars.

Members can complete advanced driving courses, based on police driver training, used by all police forces, other emergency services, and the armed forces.

Robin said: “As their safety standards are concerned, they are absolutely some of the best on the road, even at the age of 17.

“The Science Museum is blown away with the safety awareness that the kids have got as regards to how dangerous a car is.

Over 20 kids took their test this year at 17 with no minors and at advanced driving level.

The courses, endorsed by Wiltshire Police, cost £325 which pays for the sites and Robin says is much cheaper than similar clubs.

The young drivers can drive for eight hours in a day at the club, trying out different vehicles.

They do not have difficulty reaching the pedals, says Robin, “but if they're not comfortable driving, they won't drive a vehicle if they're too short”..

He would like to see the courses be endorsed by insurers with a discount for car club members.

Robin continued: “There's obviously been a stigma over years of once kids at 17 pass their driving test, they want to go out, they want to drive fast, they want to show off to their friends.

“And what the club does is they control that aspect and say ‘It's not the right thing to do, roads are dangerous’

“With some of the companies that have gone on to Swindon over the last year or two, you think, ‘oh my God, where are my kids, are my kids there?’

“And our kids that come out of the car club, they're not interested in that sort of thing because they're really, extremely safe drivers.”

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