British Formula Three Scholarship Class runner-up Steven Kane saw the final piece of his prize for winning the McLaren Autosport Award in 2001 fall into place this week, as he was invited to join the McLaren-Mercedes F1 team for a day of testing at Silverstone.

Joined at the home of the British Grand Prix by regular McLaren tester Alex Wurz and 2002 Autosport winner Jamie Green, Kane refused to be over-awed by the opportunity, and quickly go to grips with the F1 machine.

"The overall feeling of driving the car, the brake and throttle response and the g-forces that one experiences is just awesome!" he bubbled afterwards, "It is clear to me how professional the McLaren team is, too. It is very serious and just simply a top team dedicated to their work. It was a pleasure to be part of it."

The Irishman said that receiving his prize drive had revived his morale after losing out to title rival Ernesto Viso in a dramatic F3 finale at Brands Hatch on Sunday.

"This experience has filled me with a new confidence," he confirmed, " I felt that I was quick for the laps I had, but I certainly still had more to give and was going faster with every minute I was in the car. The McLaren team have said that I made a good an impression on them which is something that I'd set out in the morning to achieve."

McLaren test team manager Indy Lall confirmed that Kane had make a strong impression during his limited time behind the wheel, and praised both his driving and feedback.

"Steven's time was remarkable for someone who is a thoughtful cautious driver," Lall said, "He absorbed information very quickly and drove within his limits. He knows his parameters. He's done very well".

Kane was joined at Silverstone by manager and 1996 Formula One world champion Damon Hill, who has already said that he believes that the Irishman 'is way better than I was at the same age."

The 23-year old finished as runner-up in the British F3 Scholarship Championship after entering the series for the first time and having to learn many of the circuits it visited. Prior to that, he had sat out the 2002 season in order to make the move up the ladder.

Ever since selling almost everything he had to buy his first kart without telling his parents, Kane admitted that he had dreamt of driving a Formula One car - something that McLaren helped him realise this week.

"I have finally achieved a lifelong ambition in driving an F1 car," Kane said, "and now that I have had the experience, it has only strengthened my resolve and deepened my desire to take the ultimate step and drive competitively..."

 

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