Dean Smith has earned himself a test in a McLaren-Mercedes F1 car after he became the 21st winner of the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award in a glittering ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London earlier this week.
The 2009 Formula Renault UK Champion received the award from no less than three world champions, namely Damon Hill, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. As well as the F1 test, the Wolverhampton man also received a cheque for £50,000 and membership of the British Racing Drivers Club.
"This really tops off a great year for me," said the 21-year-old, who is managed by Epping based Rapid Man Limited. "I've worked so hard all season and winning the Formula Renault title was the reward, but this represents the icing on the cake.
"To be ranked with some of the top names in UK Motorsport is like a dream come true and I just hope I can emulate 1998 [McLaren Autosport BRDC Award] winner Jenson Button's achievements in the sport.
"I'm looking forward to 2010 even more now. I have a number of options I'm exploring and we will be announcing where I will be racing next year soon. I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me this year, especially Justin Keen and the team at Rapid Man."
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Smith will contest both days of the Formula Two test in Portimão, Portugal later this week [December 11-12]. It will be his maiden run in a Williams JPH1 F2 car.
"Dean did an outstanding job in winning the Formula Renault UK Championship this season. I first met Dean when he was first shortlisted for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award in 2007 and I was extremely impressed. He was a strong contender for the award back then and I was expecting him to win it this year," said Jonathan Palmer, chief executive of MotorSport Vision which runs the FIA Formula Two Championship.
"I was delighted when he was crowned the 2009 MABA winner and I look forward to seeing him testing the Formula Two car in Portugal this week, where I expect him to be ultra competitive."