At the Autosport Awards
I’m lucky enough to be attending the Autosport Awards tonight as a guest of the customer publishing agency I do most of my work for. It’s always a spectacular event, attended by the great and the good, even though a few of them disgrace themselves (Martin Brundle’s public snipe at the chewiness of his steak ruffled the feathers of the people who spend months organising the do; although he’s on the guest list again this year so ‘lamb-gate’ must have been forgiven). I’ll be sitting next to a bigwig from formula1.com – any suggestions?
The centrepiece of the night is the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award. It’s not an automatic ticket to success – one or two of the winners have fallen down the cracks – but the majority of the drivers who have taken home this award have risen to the top of international motorsport. Aside from BRDC membership, a drive in a McLaren F1 car, Puma racewear and a clonking great TW Steel watch, the prize includes a £50,000 cheque. Money helps young drivers kick down the right doors and last year’s winner, Alexander Sims, has been mightily impressive in the F3 Euroseries this year.
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of David Coulthard, Dario Franchitti, Anthony Davidson and Jenson Button are: James Calado and Dean Smith (frontrunners in Formula Renault UK); American Star Mazda champion Adam Christodoulou; Callum MacLeod from the European F3 Open; and James Cole and Chrissy Palmer from British Formula Ford. Each of them had to perform for an expert judging panel in a variety of machinery (and on used as well as fresh tyres) over two days at Silverstone last month.
The headline names on the judging panel are Damon Hill, Anthony Davidson and Jamie Green; but the people who supply the context are the Nationals team from AUTOSPORT: Kevin Turner, Ben Anderson and the legendary Marcus Pye, who have watched these guys race week in, week out, for several years.
Unfortunately they’re all sworn to secrecy, so you’ll have to wait until later to find out who’s won…