An accountant from Winchester has been named as the second winner of the VXR Driver of the Year competition, winning a full funded drive in the 2009 Dunlop Sport Maxx Cup in the process.
James Corte, who made it to the final of the inaugural competition last season before losing out to John Allison, beat off almost 10,000 members of the public to take the prize after a three-day long final which included a written motorsport exam, fitness tests and driving activities held at Rockingham.
He will now take to the track in 2009 in an Astra VXR with support from Vauxhall as he seeks to build on the performances of Allison during his year in the car, where he took six podium finishes in his first season of racing.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic; it hasn't really sunk in yet," Corte said. "I did well in the competition last year and was told that I had potential as a racing driver, so that motivated me to enter the competition again this year. I learnt from my mistakes and have been working on my fitness and race technique since last year's final to ensure that I improved on my performance this time around.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to get into racing, and having seen last year's winner on the podium so many times, I knew I had to put all my effort into winning the drive. Now I need to concentrate on getting ready for next season, so I will be continuing to work on my fitness and also learn about the technical aspects of the car; hopefully this will give me a fighting chance on the track."
Allison himself handed over the keys of the Astra to the man who will carry his crown into 2009 and he said he was looking forward to seeing how he gets on on track next season.
"I wish him the best of luck," he said. "He is in the best hands possible; Vauxhall has given me so much support and that is reflected in our results. He did really well in the finals and I look forward to watching him on the track next season."