2005 OLIVER JARVIS
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