Some of Vauxhall's VXR Racing Driver of the Year finalists got their first insider-view of a racing paddock today after being shown around Thruxton by Vauxhall's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) works team.

The racer hopefuls have made it through to the Grand Final of Vauxhall's unique search for Britain's best natural driving talent. The eventual winner will be given a contract to race with Vauxhall in the Dunlop Sport Maxx Production Car Cup next year, a prize worth 80,000 GBP.

The series is positioned as a feeder to the BTCC, Britain's biggest car racing championship, and the competitors were trackside today learning the ropes as the prestigious team battles to secure BTCC title honours this weekend.

"It's the busiest meeting of the year for us," said Giovanardi, who hopes to take the BTCC drivers title tomorrow. "They got a very good taste of what racing is like; something different to do every minute!

"I had a good talk with a few of them and they all want this prize very much. I don't blame them; this kind of thing could be very helpful to someone wanting to get into racing today."

During the day the finalists had an official portrait taken with VX Racing, had lunch with the team and watched qualifying from the pit garage.

In a show of force, demonstrating Vauxhall's credentials in the touring car category, VX Racing secured the top three spots on the grid for tomorrow's rounds, a vital achievement in its bid to win the BTCC driver, manufacturer and team titles.

The VXR Racing Driver of the Year contenders will now concentrate fully on preparing their fitness for the Grand Final, a two-day boot camp where they will face intense media and fitness training.

The VXR Racing Driver of the Year competition was open to all drivers over the age of 21, with the only stipulation being they should have no motorsport experience and do not hold a valid MSA racing driver license.

More than 8,000 people entered online, before the closing date in July. 2,000 of those took part in karting trials around the country.

The 12 finalists will now be taken to a special VXR ‘boot camp' where VXR's Racing Driver of the Year will emerge. Dates for the boot camp will be announced soon.

-credit: vxrdriver