McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Awards
McLaren supports the next generation of F1™ hopefuls
The winner of the 2012 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award for young drivers will be announced this weekend. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver and 2009 Formula 1™ World Champion Jenson Button is a previous winner. So too are BBC F1™ commentator and former McLaren F1™ driver David Coulthard, McLaren test driver and DTM champion Gary Paffett and multiple IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti.
Since 1989 the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award has recognised up-and-coming talent from the UK and this week the six 2012 finalists visited the McLaren Technology Centre for their final interviews with the judging panel. The winner, who will be announced this weekend at the Autosport Awards in London, will walk away with fantastic prizes including a test drive in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1™ car, full membership of the British Racing Drivers Club and £100,000 to help fund the next stage of their career.
Finalists Jake Dennis, Jack Hawksworth, Josh Hill (son of 1996 F1™ World Champion Damon Hill and grandson of 1962 and 1968 F1 World Champion Graham Hill), Jordan King, Melville McKee and Josh Webster are all aged between 17 and 21 and were selected because of their distinguished performances in championships ranging from Star Mazda to Formula Renault.
Earlier in November the six finalists were put through their paces in a test session at Silverstone, driving a challenging variety of single-seater and closed-cockpit machinery: a Mercedes C-class DTM car, a Formula 2 car and a McLaren MP4-12C GT3. Observing them closely was a judging panel chaired by BRDC president and 1992 World Sportscar Champion Derek Warwick, and including McLaren’s head of vehicle engineering Mark Williams as well as DTM star Jamie Green and double British Touring Car Champion Jason Plato. Veteran commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Autosport journalists Marcus Pye and Kevin Turner also lent their trackside experience.
The aim of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award is to identify and support the most talented young drivers, which is why they are put through such a challenging set of tests. Besides physical fitness, the driving exercises enable the judges to assess each driver’s aptitude in cars that demand differing techniques to extract the maximum from them. As a final stage, the interviews at the McLaren Technology Centre help the judges test each driver’s approach outside the cockpit – a vital element since driving is just one part of the job…
You can meet the drivers and find out how they got into driving in our video below.