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Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti has joined the judging panel for this year’s Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award as a guest judge.

Four-time IndyCar champion Franchitti, who won the Award in 1992, will replace two-time British Touring Car title winner Jason Plato, who has decided to take a year away from judging the Award.

Ex-Formula 1 driver and chairman of the judging panel Derek Warwick said: “Dario has a wealth of knowledge, which will help the young drivers this year. It’s always good for the Award to have someone with Dario’s experience and that winning ability to judge not just the drivers but also have fresh eyes on the Award itself.

“It’s a privilege and honour to have such a great champion as a judge.

“Dario replaces Jason Plato for the year, Jason has decided to take a year out while focusing on his commitments with British Touring Cars.”

Franchitti added: “I’m delighted to help out this year. The Award has been giving young British drivers including myself a boost for over 30 years and I’m excited to see which one of the four finalists will be called on stage at the Autosport Awards in December and add their name to the list of winners.

“Before all that though there’s the small matter of the assessment at Silverstone and I’m looking forward to seeing how they all get on in more powerful cars than they are familiar with.”

The Award aims to find and assist the best junior British single-seater drivers each year. The 2021 finalists are Italian F4 champion and German Formula 4 points leader Ollie Bearman, FIA F3 racer Jonny Edgar, Euroformula Open title contender Louis Foster and GB3 championship favourite Zak O’Sullivan.

Over the next month they will conduct simulator and fitness tests, as well as driving MotorSport Vision Formula 2, BBM Sport Ginetta LMP3 and Garage 59-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3 machinery at Silverstone.

Prizes for the winner, who will be announced at the Autosport Awards on 19 December, include £200,000, full British Racing Drivers’ Club membership and an Arai helmet.

The other judges are Award winners Darren Turner, Andrew Kirkaldy and Alexander Sims, successful Lola and McLaren designer Mark Williams, Le Mans-winning engineer Leena Gade, leading commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Autosport’s Kevin Turner.

Other previous winners of the Award, which began in 1989, include 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button, 13-time grand prix winner David Coulthard, current F1 drivers Lando Norris and George Russell, Formula E race victors Oliver Rowland and Jake Dennis, DTM champions Gary Paffett and Paul di Resta, and 2014 World Endurance title winner Anthony Davidson.

The Club regrets to report on the death of Neville Hay, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1993
The Club regrets to report on the death of Alan Minshaw, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1984
The Club regrets to report on the death of Ray Thackwell who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1957
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