Matt Hamilton has become the youngest ever winner of a HiQ Champagne Moment award thanks to his performance in the Brands Hatch round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.
Despite working with one of the lowest budgets and driving one of the oldest cars on the grid, the 20-year-old picked up the award – voted for by BTCC fans – ahead of race winner Tom Chilton and Gordon Shedden, who wowed fans with a dramatic recovery from a slide exiting the final corner.
Although not fighting right at the front of the field, Hamilton picked up the award for a fine drive in the second race of the weekend where he mastered challenging conditions to come through the field from 15th on the grid to finish ninth – scoring his first BTCC points finish in the process for one of the smallest teams on the grid.
“It is a surprise to win the HiQ Champagne Moment and brilliant to receive the recognition of so many fans,” the TH Motorsport driver said. “We are competing on a fraction of the budget of other teams and for us, scoring points is like winning races.
“The BTCC fans are like no other supporters. They are extremely knowledgeable and appear to have recognised my achievement in gaining points, which is just great. I'd like to thank them.
“Brands Hatch was a great leveler for me. I'd hardly raced in the wet in this series for more than five minutes before, so it was a bit of an eye opener. I am still learning about the car and we're growing all the time as a team. I hope we can keep improving and pick up some more points at Oulton Park.”
Hamilton has been running this season with one of the smallest budgets on the grid, and alongside voting him as the Champagne Moment winners, the fans have also ensured he will compete at Oulton Park this weekend.
“I am very lucky to have built a large number of very enthusiastic fans, thanks mainly to the social networking sites Twitter and Facebook,” he said. “I was privileged to enjoy the company of some of these fans at Rockingham and Brands Hatch, and when they heard of my [budget] plight, a special couple offered to fund the Oulton Park meeting. I couldn't believe it, I was absolutely thrilled. Thank you so much Ben and Lesta Foskett.”