OTHER FI­NAL­ISTS Sam Bird, Joey Foster, James Jakes, Joe Tandy, Dun­can Tappy


He says: “That year was a piv­otal point in my ca­reer. I had set my­self the goal of win­ning the For­mula Re­nault UK Cham­pi­onship and the Mclaren Autosport BRDC Award. I was very aware that with­out win­ning both it would prob­a­bly have been the end of my ca­reer as we sim­ply didn’t have the fund­ing to make the next step.

“The tests were held at Snet­ter­ton and it was freez­ing. I re­mem­ber that we didn’t run tyre warm­ers on the For­mula Re­nault 3.5, and leav­ing the pits for the first time the rear wheels were spin­ning all the way through un­til fourth gear. That was an im­me­di­ate shock to the sys­tem! That year that par­tic­u­lar car caught sev­eral driv­ers out as con­di­tions were cold and the track was damp at times.

“It is such a sur­real day as you get to drive all th­ese amaz­ing cars but you are also so aware that ev­ery de­tail of what you do is be­ing an­a­lysed. It’s so im­por­tant that you go out and im­press on track, but at the same time the small­est of mis­takes in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions could be the end of your chance of win­ning.

“The mo­ment I heard my name was so emo­tional as I was sat there with my fam­ily. I can’t em­pha­sise how im­por­tant it was to all of us be­cause of how much ef­fort and sac­ri­fice had gone in to giv­ing me the op­por­tu­ni­ties to get to this point in my ca­reer.

I have no idea what I said once on stage, but to be up there and pre­sented the award by Sir Stir­ling Moss and in front of all my peers was such a mag­i­cal and ca­reer-defin­ing mo­ment.

“The F1 test was sim­ply awe­some. I will never for­get the ac­cel­er­a­tion of the car as I pulled out of the pit­lane, from first gear to sev­enth in what seemed like a few hun­dred me­tres. Then the brak­ing and all-round grip was phe­nom­e­nal – it was amaz­ing how well-bal­anced and how at home I felt in the car.

“With­out the Mclaren Autosport BRDC Award I’m not sure I would still be rac­ing to­day. Win­ning it not only put me in de­mand for F3 but also with­out the prize money it wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble to fi­nance it. Aside from that it also put my name on peo­ple’s radar and this led to the op­por­tu­nity to race in Ja­pan as a paid driver in 2007 and, later on, I be­lieve to race for Audi in the DTM.” WHAT HAP­PENED NEXT Be­came a win­ner in A1GP and Su­per GT, then in the WEC with Audi. Now part of Joest Mazda IMSA squad rac­ing in the United States

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.