Vauxhall finds its new star

Vauxhall's search for its next champion came to an end today, where John Allison was crowned the VXR Racing Driver of the Year, a title which awards him with a fully-funded race seat in the 2008 Dunlop Sport Maxx Production Car Championship, worth 80,000 GBP.

The final day of the three day finalist boot camp was held at Bedford Autodrome, where John impressed the judges by putting in stunning performances in today's driving assessments: drifting and handling in a Caterham, un-timed laps in the Jaguar JP1 prototype and timed laps in the Astra VXR.

After completing three-days of challenging tasks, which included fitness training and assessment at the Territorial Army Centre (TA Centre), media communications skills and press conference programme, the 34-year-old came out on top of his fellow 11 competitors.

"I did not expect to win at all and when the TV presenter said my name out loud I just stood there and did not know how to react," said John, a mortgage consultant who is married with two sons. "Looking back on the three days I really put in 110% in all the fitness tests at the TA Centre. Today, the Jaguar JP1 was a bit of a challenge but I listened to the instructor and took on board his comments. After that it went really well and I started to enjoy it.

"It will probably take a few days to sink in until I realise what I have achieve today. I'm absolutely over the moon."

Vauxhall's competition initially attracted over 8,000 UK entrants, with 2,000 qualifying for the six regional semi-finals. From each semi-final the two fastest competitors qualified for the finalist's boot camp. All VXR Racing Driver of the Year finalists were eager to win the highly valuable prize in order to realise their dreams of becoming a professional racing driver with Vauxhall, who has a success record in touring cars second to none of recent years.

"I would like to congratulate John. He did a fantastic job over the last three days whilst being under immense pressure," said Richard Hughes, Vauxhall's Group Marketing Manager. "Vauxhall drivers have to reflect the high quality of the brand. John will be acting as ambassador and we have every confidence in his ability."

John's next step in his newly-found opportunity will be to meet his VX Racing team of mechanics and engineers, before embarking on a test programme to prepare him for the season ahead.