Following their Annual General Meeting (AGM) today, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) have announced that Derek Warwick has been elected as the new BRDC President. Warwick, who competed in Formula One and won the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hour race during his distinguished motor racing career, becomes the ninth President of the club, taking over the role from Damon Hill OBE.
Speaking about his new role, Warwick said: “First and foremost I would like to thank Damon for the loyalty and commitment he has shown to the BRDC during his time as President. He steered us through some difficult, but ultimately successful times and my aim is to continue where Damon left off.
“The BRDC and Silverstone face an exciting future. We now have a 21st century race circuit with 21st century facilities; over the next 5-10 years we have the opportunity to continue developing Silverstone into the best motor sport venue in the world.
“The immediate focus is on securing third party investment in Silverstone, to realise the full potential of the 760 acre Estate. While the President is a non-voting member of the BRDC Board, I will continue to work closely with the Board as we seek and consider opportunities with suitable third parties.
“I am also passionate about supporting our young British drivers. It is important to me that the Club is a place that young drivers want to come to. Us older members are the heart and soul of the BRDC, but the younger drivers are our future. That's why I'll remain very much involved with programmes such as the BRDC SuperStars, BRDC Rising Stars and McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year, of which I am Chairman.
“The success of the British motor sport industry, including the British Grand Prix, is intrinsically linked to the success of British drivers, competing at the pinnacle of their sport. These are tough economic times for everyone, especially our young drivers, and the motor sport industry needs to pull together to support up-and-coming talent.
“We should not take it for granted that we'll always have British drivers competing at the highest level. The BRDC is a key stakeholder in British motor sport and as President of the Club I have a responsibility to make sure we are doing our bit, along with other stakeholders, such as the F1 teams, the MSA, MIA and RAC, to support and develop young British talent.”
Reflecting on his time as BRDC President and Derek Warwick's appointment, Damon Hill said: “I would like to express my gratitude to the BRDC for having had me as their President, and for all that it has done to help make my term as fruitful and enjoyable as possible.
“The Club has a unique place in motor sport and is respected around the world. I am very glad to have had the opportunity to work to develop and protect that reputation, together with my fellow members and board directors.
“The task of securing the British Grand Prix for Great Britain, through the continued development of Silverstone as the rightful and only viable venue for the British Grand Prix, has been the preoccupation of my Presidency by necessity. However, I hope I have also been successful in reminding the Club of its original purpose, which has been to promote the benefits and positive attributes of our sport to the widest audience, and also to strengthen relations within the sport for the benefit of all concerned.
“I have also had the opportunity to underline the importance of the individual competitor, the driver, who's determination to prevail is at the very heart of the Club's raison d'Ãªtre.
“The BRDC Rising Stars and BRDC SuperStars programmes are now a significant badge of honour for our future motor sport stars. This is of immeasurable value to their aspirations and chances of securing the necessary budgets to compete. Without British drivers completing successfully on the world stage, the outlook for the British motor sport industry and Silverstone could look very different indeed. It is very fitting therefore, that my place will be taken by someone with an equal passion for supporting the stars of the future, more than a couple of whom may one day become President of the Club.
“Derek Warwick has lived the life of a professional racing driver and reached the very top of his profession. He knows what it takes to win, and he knows what if feels like to lose. I believe that this Club should always have at its helm a racing driver who has lived that life. Derek will, I have absolutely no doubt, serve this Club with the same determination and integrity with which he displayed to the world as a professional racing driver.
“Many congratulations to Derek on becoming the next BRDC President. I wish him and the Club every success for the future.
“Finally, I would like to thank His Royal Highness, the Duke of Kent, for continuing to support the BRDC through his role as President-in-Chief. His attendance at our most important events gives us great encouragement, and makes us all very proud indeed to be able to call ourselves the British Racing Drivers' Club.”
BRDC Chairman Stuart Rolt, added, “The BRDC Board was unanimous in its support for Derek and we are delighted that he has been elected to take over from Damon. In Derek we have another hugely experienced, yet down to earth, genuine racer. The Club will continue to go from strength to strength.
“In addition to his achievements as a driver and recent work as a Director of the BRDC, Derek has also run touring car teams in both Great Britain and Australia, is a long serving member of the MSA Safety Committee and currently works as an FIA Driver Steward at a number of Formula 1 Grands Prix. He has also been heavily involved in the management of the BRDC SuperStars programme.”