Oliver Rowland has been announced as the winner of the 2011 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, the 2011 Formula Renault 2.0 UK Vice-Champion picking up the prestigious award during the Autosport Awards at Grovsenor House in London.
Rowland overcame Emil Bernstorff, Tom Blomqvist, Alex Lynn, Scott Malvern and Dino Zamparelli to become the 23rd winner of the award. The Racing Steps Foundation backed driver joins an impressive list of former winners, which includes Jenson Button, Paul di Resta, Dario Franchitti and 2010 victor Lewis Williamson.
The six finalists were tested at a wet and windy Silverstone in November in a Formula 2 single seater, Mercedes DTM machine and McLaren GT3 car, before taking part in interviews with the judging panel. Formula Renault UK Finals Series champion Rowland came out on top and his prizes for winning are a McLaren F1 test, £100,000, BRDC membership, a supply of Puma racewear for 2012 and a TW Steel watch.
The judging panel for this year's award was led by BRDC president Derek Warwick and included touring car racers Jason Plato and Jamie Green, McLaren's head of vehicle engineering Mark Williams, commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Autosport's Marcus Pye and Kevin Turner.
Speaking at the awards, Rowland said: “I don't really know what to say. It's been a difficult year, I've lost someone close to me in Martin Hines, who's helped me tremendously over the last six/seven years. It was testing but I came out strong in the end and it showed in the Renault season. There was a lot to learn in my first year and I think we did a good job in moving forward. I've learnt a lot and now I'm here and I can't really believe it.
“If you look at the list of names who's won in the past, to be stood here, it means everything to me and hopefully people can look at what we've achieved. If it wasn't for people like the Racing Steps Foundation and Fortec Motorsport, I wouldn't be stood up here and I have to thank them.”