The six finalists for the 2012 McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award have been announced.
The selected drivers are Formula Renault NEC frontrunners Jake Dennis, Josh Hill and Jordan King, Star Mazda driver Jack Hawksworth, Formula Renault Eurocup podium finisher Melville McKee, and Formula Renault BARC title contender Josh Webster.
All six Britons are first-time finalists and will be assessed in a test at Silverstone in November by a panel of judges.
The panel includes ex-Formula 1 racer and BRDC president Derek Warwick, two-time BTCC champion Jason Plato, DTM ace Jamie Green, McLaren head of vehicle engineering Mark Williams, circuit commentator Ian Titchmarsh, and AUTOSPORT's Kevin Turner and Marcus Pye.
The winner, who will be revealed at the AUTOSPORT Awards in London in December, will receive £100,000, a McLaren F1 test drive, full BRDC membership, and a TW Steel watch.
Former winners of the award, which aims to promote young British racing talent, include 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button, 13-time grand prix winner David Coulthard, sportscar racer Anthony Davidson, DTM race winner Jamie Green, and four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti.
THE CHOSEN BRITONS
2012: Currently leading Formula Renault NEC with Fortec
After a successful karting career, Dennis stepped into cars last year and dominated a thinly supported British InterSteps grid for old Formula BMW machinery.
The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver graduated to Formula Renault this season and has impressed. He currently leads the Northern European Championship from fellow Brits Jordan King and Josh Hill, and scored a podium on a debut outing in the competitive Eurocup at Spa.
2012: Star Mazda champion with Team Pelfrey
Hawksworth graduated from karts to cars by appearing in the 2010 Formula Renault Winter Cup and stunned with four pole positions.
He then contested the full UK championship the following year, scoring a victory and finishing fourth in the points despite switching teams during the season.
With European opportunities drying up, Hawksworth switched to the American Star Mazda championship for this year. Learning the circuits as he went along, the 21-year-old proved the class act in a series that funds its champions into Indy Lights.
2012: Currently third in Formula Renault NEC with Fortec
The son of 1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon, and grandson of racing legend Graham, Josh has competed in several different series and won races in most of them.
Unlike many of his peers, Hill did not start off in karting but began his career in Ginetta Junior in 2008. He stepped into British Formula Ford the following season and won five races in 2010.
A move to slicks-and-wings in the 2011 Toyota Racing Series and Formula Renault UK proved mixed, but wins in Formula Renault NEC and the New Zealand-based TRS this year have demonstrated potential.
2012: Currently second in Formula Renault NEC with Manor
After an extensive karting career, King stepped into cars in 2010. He's driven in many different series, including Formula Palmer Audi, Formula Renault and the Toyota Racing Series.
King even appeared in F2 in 2011, but this year has focused on Formula Renault. His Northern European Cup campaign has been consistent and he currently lies second with one round still remaining.
2012: Currently seventh in Formula Renault Eurocup with Interwetten
McKee has not been on the radar in Britain as much as his fellow finalists because he's been based in Europe for most of his career. He'd been a race winner in Formel Lista Junior and Formula Renault ALPS before embarking on a full Eurocup campaign this season.
Things didn't start well in 2012, but his performances have improved as the season has gone on. He also tends to finish higher up than he starts, and is currently seventh in arguably Europe's toughest junior category.
2012: Currently second in Formula Renault BARC with MGR
One of many drivers forced into another year of Formula Renault BARC following the cancellation of Formula Renault UK, Webster has been a frontrunner throughout 2012.
He narrowly lost out to 2011 McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalist Dino Zamparelli last season and this year is embroiled in a fight with reigning British Formula Ford champion Scott Malvern (twice a MABA finalist) for overall honours having scored more wins than any other driver.