Finalists Announced for 2019 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award

by Paul Hensby

The four finalists for the 2019 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award have been announced, with the winner, to be announced at the Autosport Awards on 8 December earning a number of rewards including a test in a Red Bull Racing Formula 1 car.

Jamie Chadwick, a champion in MRF Challenge and W Series in 2019 is perhaps the most high-profile driver on the list, but she is joined by Japanese Formula 3 race winner Enaam Ahmed as well as BRDC Formula 3 frontrunners Johnathan Hoggard and Ayrton Simmons.

All four drivers will be evaluated in a series of tests both on and off the track, with fitness and simulator elements at Red Bull before a two-day test at Silverstone in a variety of cars, including a MotorSport Vision Formula 2 machine, a Ligier LMP3 and a Garage 59-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

As part of the prize for the winner will be tests in Red Bull Formula 1 and Aston Martin GTE World Endurance Championship cars, as well as a £200,000 boost to their career, full BRDC membership, an Arai helmet and a TAG Heuer watch.

The judging panel is headed by British Racing Drivers’ Club vice-president and former Formula 1 racer Derek Warwick, with the panel also including former award winners Darren Turner, Andrew Kirkaldy and Alexander Sims

Jason Plato, twice a champion in the British Touring Car Championship is also on the panel, as is designer Mark Williams, Le Mans-winning engineer Leena Gade, commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Autosport magazine editor Kevin Turner.

Thoughts from the Finalists

Enaam Ahmed: “I had no clue I’d be chosen! I didn’t win Japanese F3 so I wasn’t sure I’d be considered. It’s been a hard year – I signed the deal late and rocked up not knowing the tracks, which are quite difficult. It’s been a good learning year so I think I will be more professional when I come back.

“It’s definitely an advantage to have done it before and I know how the Award works. There are a lot of things I’ll do differently. I know where I was lacking before and it took me too long to be quick.”

Jamie Chadwick: “Every year it’s something I think every young UK driver is aiming for. I’ve never had a strong enough year to warrant a nomination until now. My season finished early so it’s been something I wanted.

“I know quite a few other finalists and they’ve said the two test days are some of the best days of their careers. I’m really looking forward to it.” 

Johnathan Hoggard: “I’ve seen BRDC F3 drivers being nominated before and Tom Gamble won it last year so it’s a good championship to be in. My main goal was to win the championship – that didn’t work out, but I’m still happy with the season.

“It’s such a wide variety of cars, you get a challenge in all of them. My background is in single-seaters and I hope to adapt to the F2 car quite quickly, but the GT3 will be really different. With how much backing there is from Aston Martin it’s a big prize this year and it’s a great list of people who have won it, including current F1 drivers.”

Ayrton Simmons: “It’s amazing. It’s something I had in mind and it’s such a prestigious award. I had a lot of pace this season, but didn’t always get the results. It wasn’t a surprise to be in the final 10, but I wasn’t sure I’d make the final four. It’s been a good year and I’ve learned a lot.

“I’m looking forward to the Aston Martin and I’ve heard the F2 car is good. I’m looking forward to pressing that boost button!”

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