2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Vice-Champion Josh Webster beat off competition from Max Coates, Jody Fannin, Chris McCarthy and David Wagner to win the 2011 RSF MSA Young Driver of the Year award.
The award, supported by the Racing Steps Foundation, is awarded annually to a student in the MSA Academy. The five finalists took place in a shootout last week at Pure Tech Racing in Surrey, where they went head-to-head in the centre’s race simulators, before giving a short presentation to a panel of judges.
The simulator challenge saw the drivers given twenty minutes to familiarise themselves with a fictional race track at the wheel of an F3 car, before each setting a timed ‘visualisation’ lap to see how well they remembered the circuit. They then had a qualifying session for a forty minute race, which Wagner won. The presentation saw them speak in front of MSA Performance Director Robert Reid, RSF’s Derek Walters, MSA Director of Development Ben Taylor, Autosport magazine’s Ben Anderson and 2010 award winner Jake Cook.
Webster said: “I’m absolutely delighted to win this award and I would like to thank the RSF, the MSA Academy and the judges for this great honour. I am very grateful to the MSA Academy for the mentoring, support and education I have received as a student on the AASE programme, which has given me a solid foundation on which to build my career. I hope to repay the faith that has been shown in me by being a good ambassador for AASE and the Academy and using my experiences to encourage other young drivers to make the most of the great opportunities offered by the MSA.”
Reid said: “This year’s finalists all performed really well and there were a couple of real surprises, but Josh stood out, not just on the day itself, but with the progress he has made on the programme in the past year. What was particularly pleasing for me was that each of the drivers paid tribute to the positive effect that the AASE programme has had on their on-track results this year, so we can be sure that we are raising standards across the sport.”
Webster will receive a cheque for £1000 at the MSA’s prestigious Night of Champions ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club on 20 January 2012. All finalists also received a Grand Prix Racewear voucher worth £100.