WILLIAMSON WINS BRDC MCLAREN AUTOSPORT AWARD
Lewis Williamson will become the latest in a long line of young British race drivers to get the chance to sample F1 power with McLaren after being named as the latest McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner.
As well as the prize drive, the 21-year old Scot also collected an increased £100,000 reward to put towards his programme for next season. Despite missing out on the Formula Renault UK title this year, Williamson became the eighth winner to come from the one-make championship, overcoming eventual champion Tom Blomqvist in the two-day shoot-out at Silverstone last month.
“I’m just in shock,” the Manor Competition driver admitted on stage at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, “I just did what I’ve done all year; give it 100%. That’s all you can do.”
Lewis, who secured a series-high five wins in 2010, was presented with his award by former winners - and fellow Scots - David Coulthard and Paul di Resta, the latter, now DTM champion, having also graduated from FRenault. The 21-year old Williamson was one of three drivers from the series among the finalists – along with Blomqvist and Eurocup runner-up Luciano Bacheta – and also had to see off the challenge of FBMW Europe runner-up Jack Harvey, British FFord runner-up Scott Malvern and Formula Palmer Audi champion Nigel Moore.
Williamson also had to work hard to impress a judging panel which included F1 veteran Derek Warwick, DTM ace Jamie Green and double BTCC champion Jason Plato, as he completed a number of tests including a track assessment at Silverstone’s new South circuit in both an F2 car and a DTM machine and runs on a simulator.
Lewis may have to wait a while for his F1 run, with the two most recent winners of the award, Alexander Sims and Dean Smith, only recently having received their chance at Silverstone. Lewis will also have to make a little history if he is to reach the top flight, as no FRenault driver winning the prestigious BRDC McLaren Autosport accolade has yet made it to the F1 grid. Darren Turner was the first winner to represent Formula Renault UK, but has since made his name in touring and sports cars, while Green and Oliver Jarvis headed for the DTM, and Alex Lloyd to IndyCars. Alexander Simms has moved up the ladder to F3 and Dean Smith to GP3, while Paul di Resta stands the best chance of pipping Williamson after claiming this year's DTM championship and edging closer to a possible Force India F1 seat.