SIX OF THE BEST -- FORMULA RENAULT UK CELEBRATES SIXTH MCLAREN AUTOSPORT BRDC AWARD WINNER AS SIMS TAKES PRIZE
Alexander Sims (Wansford, Peterborough) has been named 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC award winner, the prize including a Formula One test with World title-winning team McLaren Mercedes in addition to 50,000 GBP. Sims wins the prestigious award, now in its 20th year, which is often referred to as indicating the best young British driver competing at a National level. He is the fifth winner to come from the Formula Renault UK Championship in the last seven seasons and the sixth overall.
The 20-year-old, who won three races on route to the Vice-Champion's position in the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship, follows Formula One drivers David Coulthard and Jenson Button on the stellar roll of honour. Sims was presented with the trophy by 1996 World Champion Damon Hill, who has his own links with Renault as the French manufacturer powered his title-winning Williams car.
A two-day shoot-out was held at Norfolk's Snetterton circuit testing six finalists in a range of cars. Joining Sims were 2008 Formula Renault UK champion Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) and 2008 Formula Renault UK Graduate Cup champion Dean Stoneman (Southampton), along with Wayne Boyd, Jason Moore and Aaron Steele.
All six drove an Aston Martin Vantage N24, a Formula Three single-seater and a Mercedes DTM touring car. This was followed by an interview at McLaren's F1 headquarters before the judging panel made their decision, which was announced at the Autosport Awards in London on Sunday, 7th December. Adam Christodoulou was named British Club Driver of the Year.
Commenting on winning the award, Alexander Sims said: "I'm taken aback by it all and it's just fantastic to be associated with such a prestigious honour. There's been a lot of hard work over the past 10 years, every year has its ups and downs and this is a great end to this season. I felt there was some unfinished business having missed out on the title.
"I can't pick one part of the prize that means the most. The money will be very handy because raising a budget for Formula 3 Euroseries will be tough in the current climate and a test in a Formula One car is something that every racing driver dreams of. Formula Renault UK has been a great championship to be a part of and Manor Competition has been an excellent team to race for and I'm grateful for all their hard work.
During the 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship season, Alexander Sims had two race wins and a total of 12 podium finishes. He also had one pole position and three fastest laps, plus the Driver of the Day award for round 20 at Brands Hatch thanks mainly to an incredible pass on the outside of Riki Christodoulou at Paddock Hill Bend as he fought to keep his title hopes alive.
Sims had the highest gross score in the championship with 473 points to Adam Christodoulou's 472, but Christodoulou took the title when each driver dropped his two worst scores of the campaign.
Of the five recent winners to excel in the Formula Renault UK Championship, only 2005 winner Oliver Jarvis won the award after winning the championship title. In 2002, Jamie Green won the award after finishing as Vice-Champion to Danny Watts, 2003 winner Alex Lloyd was Vice-Champion to Lewis Hamilton, while 2004 winner Paul di Resta was third overall behind champion Mike Conway and Westley Barber. Successful British Touring Car driver Darren Turner was the first winner to represent Formula Renault UK, winning the award in 1996 after finishing as Vice-Champion to David Cook.
The Formula Renault UK Championship celebrates in 20th anniversary season in 2009. In addition to the host of McLaren Autosport BRDC award winners, it boasts back-to-back Formula One World Champions in Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton, who won the Formula Renault UK title in 2000 and 2003 respectively.
-credit: fr uk