MCLAREN AUTOSPORT BRDC AWARD WINNER GEORGE RUSSELL
George Russell has been presented with the biggest prize in junior motorsport: a Formula 1 test drive with McLaren and £100,000 to further his career.
At the star-studded Autosport Awards on Sunday night, the 16-year-old from Norfolk became the youngest-ever winner of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, presented annually to British motorsport’s most promising young driver.
Russell was one of the six finalists selected, on the strength of winning the BRDC Formula 4 Championship in his rookie season of car racing and taking a race win on a wildcard appearance in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup.
The finalists went through a gruelling series of tests. They had two days at Silverstone driving super-fast Formula 2 single-seaters, as well as the high-tech, high-powered Mercedes DTM car and jaw-dropping McLaren 650S GT3 racer. On top of this they undertook fitness assessments, simulator work and interviews.
“I had a fair idea that I was in with a shout because the tests had gone well,” said George, who also wins full membership of the Silverstone-based British Racing Drivers’ Club and an Arai GP-6 RC carbon helmet. “The Formula 2 sessions were good and I know the judges look very closely at that, and I felt really good in the DTM car.
“It’s funny because on the night of the Awards I wasn’t too nervous – I knew I’d already done everything possible and the decision was in the judges’ hands. But in the last 20 minutes before the announcement my heart started pumping and the tension began to rack up. When my name was called I couldn’t believe it at first – it’s the biggest award a young driver can win. It’s surreal!”