Dave Smith – Sports Editor
Will Palmer, the 2015 BRDC Formula 4 champion, was announced as the winner of the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award (MABA) at the end-of-season Autosport Awards ceremony held at Grosvenor House in London.
The 18-year-old from Southwater claims a coveted prize package which includes a cash sum of £100,000 and an invitation to test a McLaren Grand Prix car.
The MABA was established in 1989 to help progress the careers of outstanding young British racing drivers, with previous winners including David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Anthony Davidson and Dario Franchitti. Will was nominated for the award after becoming the 2015 BRDC Formula 4 Champion, along with five other drivers including Formula Renault 2.0 racers Jack Aitken, Ben Barnicoat and Jake Hughes. Ricky Collard and Toby Sowery, who both competed in MSA Formula this year, completed the line-up.
Will said, “Every year I see the six finalists on stage and dreamt of one day taking part, it’s an amazing opportunity. Now that I’m here as the winner, it’s absolutely unbelievable. The first day was my first experience of all the cars, which are a lot quicker than my BRDC Formula 4 car, so I went away after that, thought about where I could improve and managed to pull out some laps that I was very happy with. I need to say a massive thank you to all my family, especially my Dad as he puts so much effort into it and he has been a massive support throughout my career. Also to HHC Motorsport who have guided me for the last four years and to my sponsors, including Comma. In the future, the goal is obviously Formula One and this is a massive step in achieving that.”
BRDC President Derek Warwick added, “He impressed all of us and it was almost unanimous after the last run on the last day, it was almost decided there and then before the final interviews.”