British protégé Lando Norris has won the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC award and will receive a test in a McLaren Formula 1 car plus a simulator role with the British team.
Norris has capped a storming year with the 2016 award having won the New Zealand-based Toyota Racing Series, both Formula Renault and Northern European Cup titles plus four BRDC British Formula 3 races and making impressive debuts in the European Formula 3 series and at the Macau Grand Prix.
Norris, who only turned 17 a week before the awards ceremony, beat Ricky Collard, Toby Sowery and Sennan Fielding to the top honour having impressed in two intensive days of testing at Silverstone using Formula 2, Mercedes DTM and McLaren GT cars as well as simulator sessions and fitness tests run by McLaren.
The British teenager was presented the award by McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier and follows in the footsteps of former winners David Coulthard and Jenson Button.
“I'm honestly overwhelmed to win this prestigious prize that caps off an incredibly successful season for me,” Norris said. “To be voted and ultimately be chosen by the judges is a dream.
"The McLaren prizes can only help me in my quest to ultimately reach Formula One. It's now my job to keep working hard and stay focussed to achieve this goal.”
Reflecting on the experience of going through the McLaren Autosport BRDC award tests, Norris relished the opportunity to try his hand at a DTM car while found the GT3 the trickiest due to his lack of experience in that type of racer.
“My favourite car I drove in the 'shoot out' at Silverstone was the 2016 Mercedes DTM car. I loved every moment in it, the downforce being particularly surprising,” he said. “The toughest to get used to quickly was the GT3 car. It was the most different to what I've ever driven.
“The weather at times was a little tricky for one session on the opening day being half wet, half dry.
“The first time I used a simulator was in 2014 when I was competing in the Ginetta Junior Championship. I have since driven a number [of simulators] but the McLaren one was to the highest level and unsurprisingly extremely professional. The fitness tests were pretty tough featuring endurance and strength tests.”
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