Sandy Mitchell has become the first winner of the Henderson Insurance Brokers Young Driver Initiative, beating off nine other finalists.
The 17 year old wins a drive at the final round of the LMP3 Cup Championship season at Donington Park, partnering Sir Chris Hoy in a United Autosports Ligier JS P3.
In April, Sports Insure, Bute Motorsport, and United Autosports announced the Young Driver Initiative, a scheme that would pair one lucky youngster with a celebrity, in a funded drive. Six-time Olympic champion Chris Hoy was announced in June as the celebrity and tested a Ligier JS P3 at Snetterton recently.
Over 100 hopefuls completed entries, with series sponsor Joe Henderson, United Autosports Team Owner Richard Dean, and Bute Motorsport Managing Director Chris Haynes whittling the list down to the ten lucky finalists.
The final ten drivers then canvassed for votes via social media, with Mitchell emerging at the head of the list after a close fought final few days.
Sandy Mitchell moved into sportscar racing in 2016, becoming the youngest driver to compete in the British GT Championship at just 16 years and 41 days.
He also set records for the youngest pole position, and fastest lap, before becoming the youngest race winner at Snetterton. Mitchell was awarded the British GT Rookie of the Year Award and Sunoco Fastest GT4 Driver of the Year Award at the end of that season.
In 2017 Mitchell has again teamed up with fellow Scot Ciaran Haggerty in the GT4 class of the British GT Championship, with the pair taking one victory so far this season.
“I am so pleased to win the Sports Insure Young Driver initiative, it is an incredible prize. To have this opportunity to drive the United Autosports LMP3 car alongside Sir Chris Hoy is truly special. I would like to thank every single person that voted for me, the support has been amazing! I can’t wait to race at Donington Park, I will be giving it 100% and more. It will be a fantastic new experience!”
Chris Haynes, Managing Director, Bute Motorsport:
“Doing what he has at the age of 17, Sandy has proved he is an endurance driver for the future, and he has done well to secure the votes to top the list. We look forward to welcoming him at Donington Park and helping him develop his skills in an LMP3 car.
“Well done to all the other finalists and entrants. The whole process has generated a large amount of enthusiasm from all of the shortlisted drivers, and our changes to the championship present them with an opportunity to come and join us next year.
“It’s safe to say we were not only amazed by the quantity of applicants, but the quality as well. The fact we had drivers from top national championships apply is a tremendous show of strength for the LMP3 formula and particularly for our Championship.
“We also realise that none of this can be achieved on our own and we are extremely appreciative of the support and profile that our title sponsor Henderson Insurance Brokers, in partnership with Ligier UK and United Autosport, have brought to our Championship, especially by creating and running this exciting opportunity for a young driver.”
Richard Dean, Ligier UK:
“The Sports Insure Young Driver Initiative has been a fantastic project to be involved in. We were overwhelmed with the response from the young drivers in the initial stages and it was very hard to choose the finalists.
“We had originally planned to put six finalists through but the calibre of entrants was so strong, we increased this to 10. The response from the public vote has also been staggering – over 8,000 votes cast for all the entrants. Sandy Mitchell is a worth winner and I’m sure he will have a great experience.”