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!”