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Six finalists for McLaren Autosport BRDC Award announced

by Peter Allen

Photo: Chris Schotanus

Formula Renault quintet and Star Mazda champion selected for assessment test for prestigious British award…

The six finalists for the 2012 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award have been announced. The British youngsters will be assessed in a test at Silverstone in November by a panel of judges headed up by BRDC president Derek Warwick, and the winner will be announced at the annual Autosport Awards in December. The winner will receive ?100,000 and a McLaren F1 test drive.

The first of the nominees is Jake Dennis. The Racing Steps-backed 17-year-old graduated to the Formula Renault Northern European Cup this year after winning the Intersteps title and has basically led the title race throughout and is all set to win the title at next month’s Spa-Francorchamps finale. He also scored a second place on his debut in the ultra-competitive Eurocup in difficult weather conditions at Spa.

Dennis’ two nearest rivals in the NEC are also British and have also been nominated for the award. Jordan King, 18, has been a podium regular and finally got his first Formula Renault win at Zandvoort last week. Last year he was eighth in his rookie campaign in cars in Formula Renault UK, also impressed in a handful of F2 appearances and won an Indian Grand Prix support event. He started 2012 in the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand, winning a race and coming fifth overall.

Josh Hill, 21, son of Damon and grandson of Graham, lies third in the NEC after an inconsistent season where he has won four times. It’s also his second year of Formula Renault, having come seventh in the UK last year, and his third in single-seaters after a year of Formula Ford. He also began the year in TRS for his second straight campaign down under, coming fourth with one win.

Another young man racing Formula Renault on the continent this year is Melville McKee. The 18-year-old half-Singaporean who lives in Monaco lies seventh in the Eurocup with one second-place finish and an impressive run of points-scoring finishes. He has also contested some ALPS rounds, taking two second-place finishes from six starts. He was fourth overall in that series last year with three wins.

Josh Webster is the sole representative from the UK racing scene. The 18-year-old lies second in Formula Renault BARC, set to repeat the result he achieved last year. He would have stepped up to the Formula Renault UK series had it not been canned at short notice.

The final nominee is Jack Hawksworth. The 21-year-old was fourth in Formula Renault UK last year in his maiden season in cars, but then decided to switch to the United States and compete in Star Mazda. There he has been a revelation on his way to winning the championship and will receive a scholarship to make the step up to Indy Lights.