PALMER HAILS STEFAN WILSON'S MCLAREN AUTOSPORT BRDC WIN
FPA FOUNDER PRAISES JUDGES FOR 'AN INSPIRED CHOICE'
As Stefan Wilson comes to terms with the biggest achievement of his career at Sunday's Autosport Awards, plaudits are arriving thick and fast for the 2007 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner.
Jonathan Palmer, series director of Formula Palmer Audi, with whom Stefan raced this year, believes the competition's judges have made a great decision.
"I'm thrilled for Stefan, it's really quite an inspired choice by the judges. Of this year's finalists, if you look ahead over the next few years, I have no doubt that Stefan Wilson will be a top international driver."
Palmer's MotorSport Vision company continued to host and run the awards evaluation test at Snetterton for a third consecutive year, but the FPA founder himself stepped down as a judge of the competition. Palmer remained chairman of the judges, but took no part in the decision-making process of selecting a winner. Having steered Formula Palmer Audi back to its original concept as a career category for aspiring F1 drivers, Palmer chose to avoid any possible conflict of interest.
This year's selection panel comprised of ex-Formula 1 driver and ITV commentator Martin Brundle, McLaren's Head of Engineering Steve Hallam, Ian Titchmarsh from the BRDC, Autosport's Marcus Pye, and former McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Darren Turner. Commenting on the panel, Jonathan Palmer said: "The judges have clearly looked at Stefan's performance in the context of his experience, which is absolutely right. He had the least car racing experience of the six finalists and acquitted himself extremely well.
"He is a great racer and can overtake without getting involved in incidents. He also has a huge amount of car control," he added.
Palmer still manages Stefan's brother, Justin, who races in the US-based Champ Car formula and claimed the first ever Formula Palmer Audi championship in 1998.
"Although we've had nominations before, Stefan is the first FPA driver to have the won the award and it is fitting that he's done so in the 10th anniversary year of the formula," said Palmer.
Wilson's win further strengthens FPA's credentials as a junior formula, and as Palmer explains, winning in the category means more than in other series.
"Everybody knows that FPA is not just a level-playing field, but is also the most cost effective junior formula in motorsport. Anybody who wins in FPA has beaten 20 other drivers; there are no other teams to influence the outcome, which adds to the weight of achievement for the driver.
"FPA will continue going from strength-to-strength and I look forward to more talented drivers coming through the formula."