The shortlist for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year has been revealed. And, since any one of the five drivers on it could one day be regulars on this site, we thought we’d better take a look at them in a bit more detail.
The award was set up in 1989 to recognise the achievements of up-and-coming British drivers. The first ever winner was David Coulthard and subsequent winners have included Dario Franchitti, Jenson Button, Gary Paffett and Anthony Davidson.
However, it’s no guarantee of racing success since there are plenty of names on the list who didn’t make it into the higher echelons of motorsport. And, of course, there’s one stellar young driver that’s conspicuous by his absence – Lewis Hamilton.
So, like everything in racing, it carries no guarantee of future fame and fortune. But it’s highly prestigious and a great thing for a young driver’s CV. The prize is worth having too – a test in a McLaren F1 car and in an Aston Martin GT1, plus £50,000 and a season’s supply of Puma racewear.
Last year’s winner was Stefan Wilson, brother of former F1 and current IndyCar racer Justin. After two years competing in Formula Palmer Audi he has stepped up to the British F3 championship national class where he is racing with Fluid Motorsport and currently in fourth place.
Here’s the lowdown on five of the six people set to be his successor:
- Wayne Boyd
- Boyd, 17, hails from Templepatrick, Co Down, and has made his mark in Formula Ford with the Jamun Racing team. He won the Northern Irish Formula Ford 1600 championship in 2007 and was a runner-up in the BRDC Golden Helmet competition of that year. He is currently leading the 2008 Formula Ford UK championship.
- Adam Christodoulou
- Christodoulou, 19, is a former four-time British karting champion who took this year’s Formula Renault UK championship with the CR Scuderia team – despite being outscored by Alexander Sims (see below). Recruited to the BRDC Rising Star programme in 2007. Has rehabilitated his reputation after serving a ban during the 2006 season when his father was found to have illegally modified his engine.
- Jason Moore
- Moore, 19, spent three years karting, winning one title in the process, before moving into Formula Palmer Audi. He came fifth in his inaugural 2007 season and is the 2008 champion, notching up six wins, five pole positions and five fastest laps in the process.
- Alexander Sims
- Sims, 20, moved up to Formula Renault UK after a successful karting career. He was runner-up in the 2008 championship in his second year, behind Adam Christodoulou. He was actually the highest-scoring driver but, after the rule was applied that says competitors must drop their two worst race results from their final score, the Manor Motorsport driver wound up in second place. Is a member of the Motor Sports Association’s British Race Elite programme.
- Dean Stoneman
- Stoneman, 18, graduated from karting to the entry-level single-seater series Formula Renault BARC in 2007 – where he was runner-up in his first season. This year he competed in Formula Renault UK for Alpine Motorsports and finished fourth with three wins, three pole positions and two fastest laps. Recruited to the BRDC Rising Star programme this year.
The sixth finalist is due to be decided in a Formula Palmer Audi shoot-out event taking place at Snetterton on the first weekend in November. Watch this space!