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 – 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…

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  • Comments (6)
  1. Wouldn’t AUTOSPORT, with all its upper-case goodness, not benefit if this awards ceremony was recorded and perhaps shown in edited form? Or is it not really that interesting as awards go?

    Strikes me as odd that for an industry that thrives on sponsorship and media attention, it would do quite well to throw open its doors and draw in more exposure say on ITV4, than it would do just in the magazine and online?

    • admin
    • December 6th, 2009

    I have a vague recollection of it being filmed by ITV a few years ago. 2006, perhaps?

  2. I have a vague recollection of it being filmed by ITV a few years ago. 2006, perhaps?

    Google tells me it was indeed, just two years ago in fact!

    Have a splendid evening and try poach a few of the signed official F1 review books, with their limited edition dust-covers. They go for a tidy sum on eBay!

  3. purely an observation, and not a criticism, but i felt from what i saw of the awards that the heart of the ceremony belonged in the paper magazine.

    as far as i can gather, if you wanted to vote you had to buy a physical copy. the likes of marcus pye have yet to make the jump to the online world and a search of the .com site for “dean smith” returns just four articles on the man this year.

    that’s fair enough, but clearly providing real-time updates on the event doesn’t play to the strengths of the seven-day print run, so a live update stream was duly employed to cover the happenings. sadly as an online-only reader, i didn’t have much clue what was going on.

    not the end of the world by any means, and i doubt i’m the target audience in any case. but just an observation that synergy between offline and online didn’t work so well for me.

    • Stuart C
    • December 7th, 2009

    It’s an interesting observation. One of the regular criticisms of the paper title on other forums has been the perceived reduction of coverage given to national events. When the mag was revamped earlier this year the team put a lot of effort into addressing that.

    Would you be interested in seeing more national racing coverage online? If so, drop the online team a note on the forum. They do pay attention to these things.

    • Steven Roy
    • December 7th, 2009

    There has definitely been a massive reduction in the overage of national racing over the years that I have read the magazine. There are now drivers in for the McLaren award that I have barely heard of whereas I used to be able to form a sensible opinion on who should make the final 6 based on reading the magazine regularly.

    I get the impression that they are trying to appeal to a different audience than they used to.

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