Triple 2016 cham­pion wins Mclaren sim­u­la­tor role plus F1 test

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Pho­tos: LAT, Chris Allen Pho­tog­ra­phy By Jack Cozens

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.

Teenager was se­lected by judges Norris collects James Hunt Tro­phy Shed­den: Na­tional driver Ros­berg and Mansell

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