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Zak O’Sullivan claims Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year

GB3 champion Zak O’Sullivan has been crowned the winner of the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award at the 2021 Autosport Awards.

Zak O’Sullivan claims Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year

The Briton, who turned 17 on the day of the Awards, will receive £200,000, a test in an Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 car, full British Racing Drivers' Club membership and an Arai helmet as his prize.

O’Sullivan beat fellow finalists Ollie Bearman, Jonny Edgar and Louis Foster to become the 32nd winner of the Award, which aims to find and boost rising British single-seater racers.

“I went in with no expectations, a bit nervous and didn’t eat much on the day, but it is amazing to win it. It has been a pretty surreal week for me, being signed by Williams to their junior academy, and today is my birthday!” O’Sullivan said on stage.

O’Sullivan undertook his third season of car racing in 2021, having finished as runner-up in both Ginetta Junior and British F4. Racing for Carlin, the teenager scored seven victories from the 24 rounds and beat former Award finalist Ayrton Simmons by 164 points.

After fitness tests with Athletic Thinking and simulator assessment with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, the four finalists spent two days at Silverstone. They drove MotorSport Vision Formula 2, Garage 59-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and BBM Sport Ginetta LMP3 machinery on the Grand Prix circuit.

Zak O’Sullivan

Zak O’Sullivan

Photo by: Motorsport Images

O’Sullivan joins an illustrious list of previous winners of the Award, which began in 1989, that includes 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button, 13-time grand prix winner David Coulthard, current F1 drivers Lando Norris and George Russell, triple Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, and 2014 World Endurance champion Anthony Davidson.

The 2021 Award judging panel was led by ex-F1 driver and BRDC vice-president Derek Warwick, while four-time IndyCar champion Franchitti was the 2021 guest judge. The other judges were successful McLaren and Lola designer Mark Williams, Le Mans-winning engineer Leena Gade, Aston Martin development driver and 1996 Award winner Darren Turner, GT team boss and 1997 Award winner Andrew Kirkaldy, BMW Formula E driver and 2008 Award winner Alexander Sims, experienced commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Autosport’s chief editor Kevin Turner.

ALL THE WINNERS
1989 David Coulthard
1990 Gareth Rees
1991 Oliver Gavin
1992 Dario Franchitti
1993 Ralph Firman Jr
1994 Jamie Davies
1995 Jonny Kane 
1996 Darren Turner
1997 Andrew Kirkaldy
1998 Jenson Button
1999 Gary Paffett
2000 Anthony Davidson
2001 Steven Kane
2002 Jamie Green
2003 Alex Lloyd
2004 Paul di Resta
2005 Oliver Jarvis
2006 Oliver Turvey
2007 Stefan Wilson
2008 Alexander Sims
2009 Dean Smith
2010 Lewis Williamson
2011 Oliver Rowland
2012 Jake Dennis
2013 Matt Parry
2014 George Russell
2015 Will Palmer
2016 Lando Norris
2017 Dan Ticktum
2018 Tom Gamble
2019 Johnathan Hoggard
2020 NO AWARD
2021 Zak O’Sullivan

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