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McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner to be crowned at AUTOSPORT Awards

McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner to be crowned at AUTOSPORT Awards

04/12/2014, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, Formula 1, Article # 6137567
                                                      Press Release For Immediate Distribution: 04/12/14

McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner to be crowned at AUTOSPORT Awards

  • Britain’s brightest young motor sport prospect set for major career boost
  • Alexander Albon, Ben Barnicoat, Sennan Fielding, Seb Morris, George Russell and Harrison Scott the six finalists
  • Winner to be announced at glittering AUTOSPORT Awards this weekend

The 2014 McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner will be announced at the star-studded AUTOSPORT Awards ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel this Sunday (7 December), with the recipient set to follow in the wheeltracks of motor racing legends Jenson Button, Dario Franchitti and David Coulthard.
Arguably the most prestigious accolade in the junior echelons of the sport, the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award has in the past set many a gifted young driver on the fast track towards motor racing superstardom. British Racing Drivers’ Club President Derek Warwick affirms that this year’s six finalists are as talented a crop as has ever been seen.
In alphabetical order, they are Alexander Albon, Ben Barnicoat, Sennan Fielding, Seb Morris, George Russell and Harrison Scott – and all were selected based upon their achievements in 2014.
Albon, 18, was a consistent front-runner on his way to third position in the fiercely-disputed Formula Renault Eurocup with KTR; 17-year-old Racing Steps Foundation protégé Barnicoat belied his lack of experience to clinch the coveted Formula Renault NEC crown with Fortec Motorsports as a car racing rookie; and Fielding (18) was a four-time race-winner with HHC Motorsport in BRDC Formula 4, tallying the series' first ever victory hat-trick.
Second-time award finalist Morris, 18, was a title challenger and double race-winner in Formula Renault NEC with Fortec Motorsports; Russell – the youngest of the sextet at just 16 and like Barnicoat, a rookie – scooped the BRDC Formula 4 spoils with Lanan Racing and finished fourth overall in FR Alps; whilst 18-year-old Scott fought tooth-and-nail for the British Formula Ford laurels, concluding the campaign as runner-up following five triumphs and 24 podium finishes for Falcon Motorsport.
Fittingly, the six drivers came together for a circuit showdown at the celebrated ‘Home of British Motor Racing’, Silverstone. After sighting laps in a McLaren MP4-12C road car, they each got behind the wheel of Mercedes’ 500bhp DTM tin-top contender, McLaren’s new MP4-12C GT3 sportscar and the Williams-built Formula 2 single-seater run by Jonathan Palmer's MSV team. They were assessed on their capabilities in several different scenarios, from qualifying runs to short race simulations.
The on-track test was accompanied by a rigorous physical fitness assessment at the Porsche Human Performance Centre and interviews with the expert judging panel, representing all three of the award’s partners – McLaren, AUTOSPORT and the BRDC – and combining a blend of successful drivers, F1 technical knowledge and data analysis, experienced followers of the sport and those with an overview of national level motor racing.
The panel was chaired this year by former F1 racer and World Sportscar Champion Warwick, two-time BTCC Champion Jason Plato, team boss and erstwhile GT racer Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren head of vehicle engineering Mark Williams, veteran commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Kevin Turner, editor of AUTOSPORT’s sister publication Motorsport News. 
Whichever driver secures the illustrious prize will not only win £100,000, a McLaren F1 test, full BRDC membership and an Arai GP-6 RC carbon helmet – but will also firmly establish himself as a bona fide star of the future. Warwick reveals that a deserving winner has now been chosen – but that the selection process was far from easy.
“Every year, I never cease to be amazed and impressed by just how competitive this award is,” he reflected. “These guys seem to get younger and younger but more and more mature at the same time. I find it incredible to see drivers as young as 16 and 17 – some in only their first season of car racing – climb behind the wheel of a full-blooded DTM car and set a stunning pace within barely a handful of laps. Each of them got out with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen!
“It was a very strong field; they all did their homework by speaking to previous award-winners, displayed an extremely professional approach and understood what was required. We prepared them well with some simulator work and track time at Bedford Autodrome to make sure they were physically and mentally in a good place – and then we unleashed them.
“Raw speed was of course paramount, and beyond that we looked at their fitness and media skills. Gradually, the top three emerged and then we whittled them down to the final two, and at that point the debate kicked off in the judges’ room to determine the winner. It was as close as I’ve ever seen, but what I can say is that the driver who has won was spectacular – very fast from the very first lap of the competition – and consistently quick across all of the disciplines. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
The McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award was inaugurated in 1989, when future F1 star Coulthard won. The aim is to boost the prospects of young British racing talent, and the list of former winners is impressive. As well as Coulthard, 2009 F1 World Champion Button, former Force India F1 driver Paul di Resta, multiple IndyCar Champion Franchitti, DTM protagonists Gary Paffett and Jamie Green, World Endurance Champion Anthony Davidson and fellow sportscar aces Oliver Gavin, Jonny Kane and Darren Turner are all among the 25 previous winners.

Image Captions:
Above and below: The six finalists for the 2014 McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award and the three cars in which they were assessed at Silverstone – the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 sportscar, Williams-built Formula 2 single-seater and Mercedes' 500bhp DTM tin-top contender. The finalists are Alexander Albon (below top left), Ben Barnicoat (below top right), Sennan Fielding (below mid-left), Seb Morris (below mid-right), George Russell (below bottom left) and Harrison Scott (below bottom right).

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Mercedes-Benz headlines AUTOSPORT Awards partners in anniversary year

Mercedes-Benz headlines AUTOSPORT Awards partners in anniversary year

02/12/2014, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, Formula 1, Article # 6076431
                                                      Press Release For Immediate Distribution: 01/12/14

Mercedes-Benz headlines AUTOSPORT Awards partners in anniversary year 

  • Major global brands link up with leading motor sport Awards ceremony
  • Mercedes-Benz title sponsor in anniversary year 
  • F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg both potential award-winners

The star-studded 2014 AUTOSPORT Awards – set to take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Sunday, 7 December – will benefit from strong support from a raft of high-profile partners led by Mercedes-Benz.
The evening’s guest list is expected to read like a glittering ‘Who’s Who’, and the Awards sponsors are likewise industry giants. From Mercedes-Benz to Bahrain International Circuit – host to the Bahrain Grand Prix – automotive manufacturer BMW, global oil producer Castrol, tyre-maker Pirelli, telecommunications and internet service provider Tata Communications and financial services specialist UBS, each is at the very top of their game.
Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to the AUTOSPORT Awards, having similarly headlined in 2013. In a year in which Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team dominated the pinnacle of international motor sport – winning 16 of 19 Grands Prix, a new record – Mercedes-Benz UK Limited CEO Gary Savage reflects that the partnership is the perfect fit.
“The AUTOSPORT Awards ceremony is one of the undisputed highlights on the annual motor racing calendar, and appropriately, the Great Room at the Grosvenor House Hotel will be filled with great names, great drivers and great teams,” he explains. “It is a privilege to be a partner to such a prestigious and popular event, and our sponsorship is a combined effort between Mercedes-Benz’s road car business and our Formula 1 colleagues.
“Our ongoing support of the AUTOSPORT Awards is a celebration of motor sport in general. It’s a terrific event in its own right and one that we always enjoy attending, and at Mercedes-Benz, we are marking 120 years of motor racing this year, meaning the timing could not be any more apposite.”
Indeed, what is commonly perceived as the first official motor race took place in the south of France in 1894, with the winning car powered by an engine produced by Daimler – one of the two companies that went on to form Mercedes-Benz.
Bahrain International Circuit might not have been around as long, but in its ten-year existence, it has hosted a number of F1 and World Endurance Championship (WEC) classics, whilst Mercedes’ German rival BMW was the dominant force this season in the DTM. Marco Wittmann triumphed four times in the fiercely-contested, pan-European touring car series to lift the drivers’ laurels and help BMW Team RMG to clinch the teams’ crown.
Castrol is a key supplier to the M-Sport World Rally Team in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with its Castrol EDGE brand lubricating the Ford Fiesta RS WRC piloted in 2014 by young British star Elfyn Evans. Pirelli, meanwhile, is one of the world’s pre-eminent motor sport tyre-suppliers, with exclusive contracts to both F1 and the World Superbike Championship amongst others.
Tata Communications and UBS are similarly pivotal partners to the international pinnacle of four-wheeled motor racing, and the fact that all AUTOSPORT Awards sponsors are returning following the hugely successful 2013 event is testament to the evening’s illustrious standing and reputation within the motor sport world.

Image Captions:
Above: Mercedes-Benz returns as the title partner to the star-studded AUTOSPORT Awards, following a record-breaking F1 campaign in which
 Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg tallied 16 Grand Prix victories.
Below top left: 
Hamilton and Rosberg sprayed plenty of podium champagne in 2014.
Below top right: Like Tata Communications, UBS is one of the pivotal partners that maintains F1's status as the pinnacle of international motor sport.
Below mid-left: The Bahrain International Circuit has produced no shortage of thrilling F1 and WEC races over the last decade.
Below mid-right: Castrol has been a key supplier to the M-Sport World Rally Team in recent years.
Below bottom left: BMW star Marco Wittmann was the dominant force in the DTM this year.
Below bottom right: 
With exclusive contracts in both F1 and WSBK, Pirelli is one of the world's pre-eminent motor sport tyre manufacturers. 

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Record-breaking response to 2014 AUTOSPORT Awards

Record-breaking response to 2014 AUTOSPORT Awards

27/11/2014, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, Formula 1, Article # 5965131
                                                      Press Release For Immediate Distribution: 27/11/14

Record-breaking response to 2014 AUTOSPORT Awards 

  • AUTOSPORT readers vote in record numbers for end-of-season Awards
  • British drivers hotly-tipped for success on star-studded night
  • World Champions and race-winners set for glittering London ceremony

Hot on the heels of a sensational Formula 1 World Championship finale in Abu Dhabi last weekend, voting has closed for the AUTOSPORT Awards 2014 in association with Mercedes-Benz – with a record-breaking response from motor sport fans.
Held annually since 1982, the star-studded AUTOSPORT Awards brings together the great and the good from every discipline of the sport, with a glittering ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane that this year will take place on Sunday, 7 December.
Of the 12 key awards, eight are chosen by readers of AUTOSPORT – the world’s leading weekly motor sport magazine and website – with thousands of votes cast.
Following his 11 grand prix victories this season – culminating in his second World Championship title – Lewis Hamilton should be a leading contender for the International Racing Driver accolade.
The F1 season might have finished, but the fight between Hamilton and his Mercedes GP team-mate Nico Rosberg isn’t over. Rosberg is also shortlisted for International Racing Driver, along with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Williams’ ‘Flying Finn’ Valtteri Bottas. They face strong opposition from non-F1 drivers including Audi sportscar ace André Lotterer – fast becoming a Le Mans legend following his third win at La Sarthe last summer – and Will Power, who finally banished his bridesmaid tag by dominating the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2014. And that is to name just a few.
Whoever does lift the International Racing Driver laurels will follow in the wheeltracks of some true icons of the sport, including F1 World Champions Nelson Piquet, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Mika Häkkinen, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton himself.
Hamilton and Rosberg’s Mercedes W05 was the class of the F1 field in 2014, but it has strong rivals for Racing Car of the Year from the F1 grid and beyond. Toyota’s world-beating TS040 Hybrid sportscar is a major contender, as are the Red Bull Racing RB10 and Williams FW36 F1 cars, Citroën’s all-conquering C-Elysée from the FIA World Touring Car Championship and BMW’s M4 DTM beast.
There is a wealth of off-road talent vying for International Rally Driver of the Year, led by two-time World Champion Sébastien Ogier – but the Frenchman will undoubtedly face a fight from Volkswagen Motorsport team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen, Citroën’s resurgent Kris Meeke, fellow homegrown hero Elfyn Evans and Hyundai No.1 Thierry Neuville.
By the same token, the Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Citroën DS3 WRC, Ford Fiesta RS WRC and Hyundai i20 WRC will be up against MINI’s fearsome and fearless Dakar winner and the evergreen and ever-popular Porsche 911 amongst others in the Rally Car of the Year category.
Hamilton is also in the hunt for the British Competition Driver of the Year trophy – an award he has claimed twice before – but following a magnificent campaign for the Brits, five-time winner Jenson Button, GP2 Series Champion Jolyon Palmer, GP3 Series Champion Alex Lynn, FIA World Endurance Champion Anthony Davidson and IndyCar race-winner Mike Conway are all similarly well in contention in one of the most fiercely-disputed categories.
Befitting of the series’ headlining status, Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship stars dominate the National Driver of the Year shortlist, from Champion Colin Turkington to leading rivals Jason Plato, Gordon Shedden and Andrew Jordan, alongside Martin Cao – ostensibly the final British F3 title-winner – and Super GT front-runner James Rossiter. The accolade has gone the way of a tin-top protagonist for the past five years, but could that change in 2014?
British Club Driver of the Year recognises budding young talent and stretches its net far and wide. Previous winners to have gone on to global glory include Eddie Irvine, Allan McNish, David Coulthard, Dario Franchitti, Andy Priaulx and Hamilton. This year’s front-runners are Ben Barnicoat (Formula Renault 2.0 NEC), Mike Bushell (Renault UK Clio Cup), Joe Fulbrook (Volkswagen Racing Cup), Charlie Robertson (Ginetta GT4 Supercup), George Russell (BRDC Formula 4) and Josh Webster (Porsche Carrera Cup GB) – champions all.
The Rookie of the Year award has in the past been collected by the likes of Button, Hamilton, Vettel, Meeke, Dan Wheldon, Mark Webber and Juan-Pablo Montoya and – poignantly – was last year bestowed upon Jules Bianchi, who will surely be in everybody’s thoughts on the night. F1 new boys Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat, FIA Formula 3 European Championship standouts Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen, GP2 Series race-winner Stoffel Vandoorne and NASCAR newcomer Kyle Larson are all hotly-tipped this time around.
Awards not voted for by readers include the Pioneering and Innovation Award and John Bolster Trophy for technical achievement – previously won by motor sport geniuses Patrick Head, Ken Tyrrell, Roger Penske, Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey.
Former recipients of the Gregor Grant Trophy for lifetime achievement include greats Mario Andretti, Murray Walker, Colin McRae, Alain Prost, Emerson Fittipaldi, Dale Earnhardt, Alex Zanardi, Sir Frank Williams, Carlos Sainz, Tom Kristensen, Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss, Sébastien Loeb and Sir Jackie Stewart.
Arguably the most eagerly-anticipated and highly-coveted accolade of all, however, is the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award, which is renowned for setting talented young drivers on the fast track to a successful motor sport career – as Coulthard, Franchitti, Button, Davidson and Paul di Resta can all attest.
This year, the six finalists are Alexander Albon (Formula Renault Eurocup), Ben Barnicoat and Seb Morris (Formula Renault NEC), Harrison Scott (Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain) and George Russell and Sennan Fielding (BRDC Formula 4). Whichever of the sextet clinches the illustrious prize will not only win £100,000, a McLaren F1 test, full membership of the British Racing Drivers' Club and an Arai GP-6 RC carbon helmet – but will also firmly establish himself as a bona fide star of the future.

Image Captions:
Above: The star-studded AUTOSPORT Awards are regarded as the motor sport industry 'Oscars'.
Below top left: Lewis Hamilton is in the running for a number of accolades following his title-winning Formula 1 triumph with Mercedes this year.
Below top right: Volkswagen Motorsport's Sébastien Ogier made it back-to-back WRC crowns in 2014.
Below mid-left: Precocious F3 rookie Max Verstappen will graduate to Formula 1 in 2015.
Below mid-right: Will Power finally banished his 'bridesmaid' tag to lift the IndyCar Series laurels with US powerhouse Penske.
Below bottom left: Colin Turkington was a popular BTCC Champion.
Below bottom right: Citroën’s astonishing C-Elysée contender saw off all comers as 
José María López swept to WTCC glory.

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