Southwater driver Will Palmer has capped his scintillating season by scooping a £100,000 cash prize and landing a Grand Prix test drive with McLaren.
The 18-year-old 2015 BRDC Formula 4 champion won the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award at the end-of-season awards ceremony.
He was selected as the victor by a panel of judges after ‘taking the breath away’ of the motor sport industry experts .
The award was established in 1989 to help progress the careers of outstanding young British racing drivers, with previous winners including David Coulthard and Jenson Button.
The six nominees up for the award underwent fitness and simulator assessments before facing a rigorous two-day test on the Grand Prix track at Silverstone in Formula 2 single-seater, DTM Mercedes and McLaren 650S GT3 machinery.
They then faced interviews with a panel of experts before the judges - including BRDC president Derek Warwick and two-time British Touring Car Champion Jason Plato - selected Palmer as the winner.
His victory was announced at a ceremony held at Grosvenor House in London on Sunday night.
Palmer, brother to F1 driver Jolyon, said: “It’s absolutely unbelievable. Every year I see the six finalists on stage and dreamt of one day taking part, it’s an amazing opportunity.
“Now that I’m here as the winner, it’s absolutely unbelievable.
“I need to say a massive thank you to all my family, especially my Dad (Jonathan Palmer), as he puts so much effort into it and he has been a massive support throughout my career.
“Also to HHC Motorsport who have guided me for the last four years and to my sponsors, including Comma. In the future, the goal is obviously Formula One and this is a massive step in achieving that.”
Palmer enjoyed a stunning 2015 campaign in BRDC Formula 4, winning exactly half the races across the season with 12 victories, in addition to three other podium finishes.
He wrapped up the title with three races still left in the season and amassed a record points total.
BRDC president Derek Warwick added: “On the first day, there were two drivers that were exceptional in the McLaren and the DTM cars and then on the second day, this guy (Palmer) came alive, it was unbelievable.
“On two sessions on used tyres he was really quick then we put some new tyres on and he was sensational, he took our breath away to be honest.
“He impressed all of us and it was almost unanimous after the last run on the last day, it was almost decided there and then before the final interviews.”
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