One again a gaggle of sportscar racing talent has been recognised by the BRDC at the annual British Racing Drivers Club awards lunch in London yesterday.
Most of the winners came from the FIA WEC paddock, Aston Martin Racing’s Darren Turner and Jonny Adam collecting both the Woolf Barnato Trophy and the ERA Club Trophy.
They received the Woolf Barnato Trophy, which is awarded annually to the highest-placed finishing British and/or Commonwealth driver, in a British car, at Le Mans. Turner has won this award on four previous occasions between 2005 and 2008.
They also received the ERA Club Trophy, which is presented to the British driver who, driving a British car, established the most meritorious performance of the year outside of the UK. The BRDC recognised Turner and Adam’s achievement in winning the GTE Pro class at Le Mans, against “the strongest opposition from Chevrolet Corvette, Ford, Ferrari and Porsche.” Turner previously won this award in 2013.
Adam also received the Fairfield Trophy recognising the most outstanding performance of the year by a BRDC member.
LMP2 outfit Jackie Chan DC Racing and Jota Sport received the Nigel Moores Trophy for the “Most Meritorious Performance in International MotorSport by a Privateer team” in recognition of their astonishing second place overall at the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours, David Cheng joined by Jota’s David Clark and Sam Hignett on stage.
They also received the ACO Plate for Olly Jarvis as the highest placed British driver at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Olly unable to attend as he is in the USA preparing for the IMSA Daytona test later today with Mazda Team Joest.
James Calado is the 2017 winner of the BRDC Presidents Trophy in recognition of his performance in winning the FIA World Championship for GT Drivers alongside Alessandro Pier Guidi, the AF Corse Ferrari pair the first recipients of the title as full World Champions.
Fellow AF Corse man Sam Bird received the Earl Howe Trophy for the ‘Most Meritorious Performance by a British Driver in North America’ – for his double race win in the New York races for Formula E earlier this year.
The Bruce McLaren Trophy meanwhile went to Brendon Hartley, awarded each year to a driver residing in the Commonwealth who has established the most meritorious performances in international motor racing with the Silverstone Le Mans Challenge Award – for the best combined performance at Silverstone and Le Mans – going to the eventual World Championship winning trio of Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard.
The best of the 2017 British GT Championship field were also celebrated, this year’s champions in GT3 Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris as well as GT4 title winners Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton were recipients of some very special silverware.
First up were Team Parker Racing’s Parfitt Jnr and Morris whose British GT3 title with Bentley earned them the John Cobb Memorial Trophy. Named after the former Land Speed World Record holder, the award recognises the British driver or drivers racing a British car who achieved success of outstanding character.
It was actually Parfitt Jnr’s second award after he earlier received the Innes Ireland Trophy. The 43-year-old suffers from Crohn’s disease, a debilitating illness that causes intense abdominal pain. Indeed, there were times during 2017 that Parfitt Jnr qualified and raced in severe physical discomfort. But his determination to overcome the illness en route to this year’s title did not go unnoticed by the BRDC who recognised the same qualities of courage and sportsmanship epitomised by the late Ireland.
“This is the pinnacle, really,” he said. “It was such a privilege to be up on stage receiving both awards in front of my peers and so many incredible people from across motor racing. But it’s also very satisfying to achieve the level of credibility that comes from winning awards like these, and amazing to think that my name will forever be on the same trophies as so many greats from our sport. That’s not something anyone can take away from you. Equally, it was nice that the difficulties I’ve had this year, and in previous years, were recognised, and that we’ve managed to achieve something special without always being at 100%.”
The squad that took Morris and Parfitt Jnr to this year’s GT3 crown, Team Parker Racing, were also praised by the BRDC judging panel for the success and standards of preparation across their myriad motorsport programmes.
Meanwhile, Tregurtha and Middleton made history by becoming the first joint winners of the Henry Surtees Trophy, which acknowledges the most outstanding performance by a BRDC Rising Star. And what a performance it was: British GT’s youngest ever title-winning crew in terms of combined age, a points total that single-handedly won HHC Motorsport the GT4 Teams’ crown.
“I feel incredibly privileged to accept an award like this and to be considered amongst the BRDC’s brightest prospects,” said Middleton, whose Sunoco Whelen Challenge victory sees him travel to America later this week for a Daytona 24 Hours seat fitting. “I think I can also speak for Will when I say neither of us could have predicted we’d be in this positon 12 months ago. Drivers like Daniel Ricciardo have previously won the Henry Surtees Trophy, so it’s incredible to have our names alongside people like him.”
Photos courtesy of BRDC