MANOR CELEBRATES AS SIMS WINS McLAREN AUTOSPORT BRDC AWARD
Nottinghamshire based Formula Renault UK team Manor Competition is celebrating this morning after seeing hugely talented racer Alexander Sims claim one of the biggest prizes in British motorsport -- the 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC 'Young Driver of the Year' Award.
The renowned New Ollerton squad, which is owned and run by husband and wife partnership Tony and Sarah Shaw, sends its warmest congratulations to the 20-year-old Cambridgeshire racer who it ran to the Vice-Champion's position in this year's Formula Renault UK title battle.
During the annual Autosport Awards evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London last night, Sunday, 7th December, Sims was deservingly crowned the 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner, following in the wheel tracks of some of motorsport's biggest names.
Past winners of the prestigious accolade include recently retired Formula One star David Coulthard (the first ever winner in 1989), Grand Prix winner Jenson Button and Manor's last Formula Renault UK Champion Oliver Jarvis, who went on to claim the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award in 2005.
Sims' success at last night's ceremony, where he received his award from British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) President and 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill, McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh and Autosport's publishing director Peter Higham, caps a wonderful year for the youngster -- only his second season in single-seaters.
Claiming more podiums and more championship points than anyone else in Formula Renault UK this year, Sims just missed out on the title by a fraction during the final round at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent by virtue of the championship's 'drop score' ruling. He took two outstanding race wins, 10 other rostrum finishes and three fastest race laps.
In addition, he was named a British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star and became one of just three drivers accepted onto the Motor Sports Association (MSA) Race Elite programme.
Speaking on Sims' latest success, Tony and Sarah Shaw commented: "It's absolutely fantastic to see Alexander win the McLaren Award, it's a huge prize and thoroughly deserved. He did a truly fantastic job in Formula Renault UK this season and had a couple of bits of bad luck gone the other way he'd have won the title for sure, with or without the drop scores.
"It's been a pleasure working with Alexander over the last couple of years and he definitely has a huge future in the sport. For us, it's great to have produced another McLaren Award winner, Ollie Jarvis being our other one in 2005 after he won the Renault title with Manor that year. We have all really enjoyed this season's racing -- huge congratulations to Alexander on his success."
As part of his prize for scooping the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, Sims has become a full member of the BRDC, he receives 0x00a350,000 towards his 2009 race budget, Puma racewear, a TW Steel watch and a test in an Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 sportscar. Most spectacularly of all though is the grand prize -- a test in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One car.