At a time of year when Jenson Button is sweeping all before him, Dario Franchitti’s achievement in winning a second US IndyCar championship has been recognised by the British Racing Drivers’ Club.
Franchitti, like Button, was a recipient of the organisation’s Gold Star Award, based on results gained in international races. BTCC driver and 2009 championship runner-up Jason Plato was the winner of a Silver Star, the equivalent for national racing.
Franchitti also collected the Earl Howe trophy for the most meritorious performance in North American racing, while Button snagged a further three awards – the Era Club Trophy for international performance in a British car, the Graham Hill Trophy for the most meritorious performance in single-seater racing and the Richard Seaman trophy for coming top in the annual Gold Star points table.
Ross Brawn’s remarkable season also gained recognition. He was handed the Colin Chapman Trophy for outstanding team spirit.
And Lewis Hamilton was not forgotten. While unable to match his 2008 trophy haul, he was awarded the John Cobb trophy for successes of outstanding character during 2009 – a recognition that he will doubtless find very rewarding.
Red Bull F1 pilot Mark Webber picked up the Bruce McLaren trophy, awarded for the most meritorious performance by a Commonwealth driver in international motor racing, as well as the Innes Ireland trophy for courage and sportsmanship, while his colleague and British GP winner Sebastian Vettel was honoured with the Johnny Wakefield trophy for putting down the fastest lap of Silverstone during 2009.
Meanwhile Red Bull designer Adrian Newey was handed the Sir Jackie Stewart Award for a motorsport engineer who has shown brilliance during the course of the season.
David Brabham won the Fairfield Trophy for outstanding performance by a BRDC member after sweeping all before him in sportscar racing this year while Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mucke were honoured for achieving the highest combined finishing record in combined results of the Silverstone LMS race and the Le Mans 24-Hour Race, which they achieved while driving for Aston Martin.
Audi driver Allan McNish won the Aco Award as the highest-placed British driver to finish the 24 Hours of Le Mans for coming third overall, while Jonny Kane won the Woolf Barnato Trophy as the highest-placed finishing British driver in a British car for his performance with Speedy Racing Team Sebah in the LMP2 category.
Dean Smith added the Chris Bristow Trophy to his burgeoning collection as a result of winning the BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award and Max Chilton took the Spencer-Charrington trophy for the highest-placed British driver in the British F3 Championship.
British F3 International champion Daniel Ricciardo took the John Cooper trophy, in recognition of his potential to become a future World Champion, as well as becoming the first recipient of the Henry Surtees award for the most outstanding performance by one of the BRDC’s young Rising Stars.
The Nigel Moores trophy went to Team RAC (West Surrey Racing), the private entrant who established the most meritorious performance in international motor racing.
The awards were held yesterday at the InterContinental Hotel on London’s Park Lane and attended by Prime Minister Gordon Brown who presented Button with the Richard Seaman Trophy.
The ceremony came shortly after an announcement that the club’s circuit, Silverstone, had signed a deal to host the British Grand Prix for the next 17 years.