NORRIS SCOOPS 2016 MABA PRIZE
Triple 2016 champion wins Mclaren simulator role plus F1 test
Lando Norris was announced as the 2016 Mclaren Autosport BRDC Award winner at the Autosport Awards last Sunday.
The 17-year-old was presented with the award after impressing the MABA judges across a three-day assessment event at Silverstone in October, and becomes the 28th winner of the award.
Norris, who earlier in the evening was presented with the British Club Driver of the Year Award, will become a paid simulator driver for Mclaren and join the team’s driver fitness programme, and also receives a full BRDC membership and a Mclaren F1 test among other prizes.
“I’ve been pretty nervous coming up to this,” said Norris. “It’s been the cap of the great success we’ve had all year, this has really topped the whole thing off.
“I need to give a lot of respect to Ricky, Toby and Sennan, the three other drivers. They’ve obviously done great.
“We’ve raced each other for the past two years and give each other a lot of respect – they’ve made my life pretty hard over the past couple of years so well done to them. I need to say a big thanks to my mum and dad, they’ve worked hard for me. And obviously all the judges, Silverstone and everyone that’s put it together.
“I’m still soaking up the moment and winning this award. I worked very hard for it, so I’m really glad about the outcome. But it wasn’t just me – there were a lot of people who worked hard behind me.”
Norris won three titles during a highly impressive 2016, clinching the Toyota Racing Series and Formula Renault Eurocup and NEC crowns. He also finished eighth in BRDC British Formula 3 with Carlin, taking four race wins despite only contesting four of the eight rounds, and also raced in the European Formula 3 Championship season finale as well as the Macau Grand Prix.
The MABA award was presented to Norris by Mclaren’s Eric Boullier, BRDC president Derek Warwick, guest judge David Brabham and Autosport editor Kevin Turner.
World Sportscar champion Warwick, Brabham and Turner were joined on the judging panel by two-time British Touring Car champion Jason Plato, Mclaren’s Andrew Kirkaldy and Mark Williams, circuit commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Autosport features editor Scott Mitchell.
Warwick said: “Every year I stand here and say how amazed I am at the way these guys are able to cope with the DTM car, Mclaren GT car and the F2 car. This guy in his first year at 16 was amazing.
“The other drivers were very close and came back for the second time, so there was even more pressure on Lando and the way that he approached the whole award. He was one of the quickest in the DTM, one of the quickest in the GT3 Mclaren, and he was stunning in the F2 car.
“This guy has a great career in front of him; we’ve got, I think, a future Formula 1 driver and even a future world champion stood here tonight.”
Dubai 24 Hours on January 10/11. The new 24H Proto Series is aimed at homologated LMP3, CN and other sports prototypes.
The deal marks HHC’S first foray into endurance racing, with the team also applying for a two-car entry into British GT4 next season.
Team head Charlie Kemp said: “This is a toe-in-the-water for us into prototype racing. When this chance came up to work with Ginetta it was too good to turn down. I’ve driven the G57-P2 myself and it’s an easy car to jump in and drive. Drivers hop out of them and just enthuse about the experience.”
Optimum Motorsport will make its prototype debut in the event, having run an Audi R8 GT3 in Britain and Europe this year, as well as winning the British GT4 title with a Ginetta.