1991 OLIVER GAVIN
OTHER FINALISTS Dario Franchitti, Jonathan Mcgall, Dino Morelli, Guy Smith, Jamie Spence He says: “I secretly had a Class B Formula 3 test a couple of weeks beforehand to try and get an idea – I know the other guys did something similar. The test was at Donington Park and the focus was on the single-seater. I nearly crashed the F3 car on the first lap down the Craner Curves, completely sideways. It really caught me out and I thought it was all over, but I managed to gather it together.
“On the Awards night the nerves were unbearable. One of the things I learned from it was how to deal with my nerves – I’d never been up for anything that big before and it was awarded by Ayrton Senna, my hero. Winning it was one of the biggest things that’s happened in my career.
“The F1 test was at the end of 1993 at Silverstone, on the National circuit in the cold and rain. Steve Hallam was running the test and he got a huge manual out on how to drive the car – it was page after page because it was the active car with all the technology, including traction control. I was in complete overload on page one!
“I don’t think I got anywhere near the limit of the car. I was so scared I was going to hurt the car, I was out of my depth. It was still a big day, but winning the Award was the big thing for me. The kudos that came with it and the doors it opened were really important and I still get asked about it now.” WHAT HAPPENED NEXT Won the 1995 British F3 title, then forged a GT career with Corvette Racing, taking five class wins at Le Mans