Fern Webster,

Correspondent (Sports)


LONDON – On Sunday, December the 2nd, the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane hosted the annual Autosport awards. Many of the worlds motorsport stars attended including F1 drivers Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel as well as eight time world rally champion Sebatsien Loeb. There were twelve awards, eleven of which are voted by the readers of Autosport magazine.

The British Club Driver of the Year award was won by Scott Malvern after winning the Formula Renault BARC championship earlier this year. He also won the Formula Ford UK championship in 2011 and was nominated for the McLaren Autosport BRDC award twice in 2010 and 2011.

The National Driver of the Year award had some strong nominations with three British Touring Car drivers all in contention of winning as well as Jack Harvey who has had some bad luck this year but still managed to come through to win the British Formula 3 Championship. The winner was Gordon Shedden after claiming his maiden British Touring Car Championship title this year.

After receiving the award from Sir Jackie Stewart, Shedden said: “I came so close last year but yet ended up so far away. Matt winning the title was great for him, but it really put the fire in me to win the BTCC this year. To be up there with Jim Clark and John Cleland as the only Scots to have won the BTCC is pretty special.”

Sebatsien Loeb was the obvious choice to win the International Rally Driver of the Year. Loeb managed to claim his eighth consecutive World Rally Championship title. It’s the seventh time Loeb has won this prestigious award.

British competition Driver of the Year was awarded to British Formula One McLaren driver Jenson Button for the fifth time. “It has been a very up and down year for us, but [winning in Brazil] was a great way to end the season and hopefully for all the guys working that’ll be good for 2013,” Button said.

The Racing Car of the Year was awarded to the Red Bull RB8. It was presented to Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey by Hollywood director Ron Howard. The International Racing Driver of the Year followed soon after with Sebastian Vettel taking the honors. It was close to being awarded to rival Fernando Alonso but Vettel ended up with the highest number of votes.

The final award was the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award with six drivers nominated. Jake Dennis, Jack Hawksworth, Josh Hill, Jordan King, Melville McKee and Josh Webster were all in the running to win £100,000, full membership to the BRDC and most impressively an F1 test with McLaren. After two grueling days testing in Formula Two, DTM, McLaren MP4 GT3 cars the drivers also had a fitness test and an interview at the McLaren Technology Centre. Judges analyzed each aspect of the driver’s ability. Each of the drivers were given a T.W Steel watch for being nominated. Finishing on top and receiving the incredible prize was Formula Renault NEC Champion Jake Dennis.

Dennis said: “It’s very hard to put your emotions across in a situation like this. It’s such a relief to win this.

“For me it’s incredible but also for Oliver Rowland to have won it last year means it’s two straight wins for drivers supported by the Racing Steps Foundation and I want to thank them for their support.”

It was another successful year for the Autosport awards and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to it next year.

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