Autosport Awards 2015: Palmer wins McLaren Autosport BRDC Award

BRDC Formula 4 champion Will Palmer earned the 2015 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award at the climax of this year's Autosport Awards in London

Palmer will receive a test in a McLaren Formula 1 car, £100,000, full BRDC membership and an Arai GP-6 RC carbon crash helmet.

The 18-year-old is younger brother of 2016 Renault F1 driver and '14 GP2 champion Jolyon, and son of 1980s F1 racer Jonathan.

"It's absolutely unbelievable," he said.

"Every year I've seen the six finalists on stage and dreaming of one day taking part, it's an amazing opportunity.

"Now that I'm here as the winner, it's absolutely unbelievable.

"It's absolutely massive for my career."

He took 12 race wins with HHC Motorsport on the way to a dominant BRDC F4 title success in his second season in the category, having also earned last year's Autumn Trophy.

Prior to stepping into single-seaters in the 2013 F4 autumn series, Palmer had been a race winner in Ginetta Juniors.

Palmer, who had begun his Autosport Awards evening by winning the readers' vote for British Club Driver of the Year, was up against Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and ALPS champion Jack Aitken, FRenault 2.0 frontrunners Ben Barnicoat and Jake Hughes, MSA Formula title contender Ricky Collard and MRF Challenge champion Toby Sowery.

The sextet went head to head over two intensive days of assessments at Silverstone last month, featuring on-track tests on the Grand Prix circuit in Formula 2, Mercedes DTM and McLaren GT cars, plus interviews, simulator sessions and fitness tests.

The judging panel was led by former F1 driver, 1992 World Sportscar champion and BRDC president Derek Warwick, and also comprised two-time British Touring Car champion Jason Plato, McLaren's Andrew Kirkaldy and Mark Williams, leading circuit commentator Ian Titchmarsh, Autosport features editor Scott Mitchell and Motorsport News editor Kevin Turner.

"Will took our breath away," Warwick said. "He impressed all of us."

Warwick was joined by McLaren chief operating officer and acting CEO Jonathan Neale and Stuart Williams, group publisher of Haymarket's motor racing titles, to present Palmer with the award.

It is the second time in BRDC F4's three-year history that its champion has won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, with Palmer emulating last year's winner George Russell.

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