John Bolster: Ralph Firman Sr

Ralph Firman Sr has been honoured with the John Bolster Award at the AUTOSPORT Awards

John Bolster: Ralph Firman Sr

Firman Sr founded racing car manufacturer Van Diemen 30 years ago. The marque quickly rose to prominence in national and international motorsport, although it is probably best known for its string of ultra-successful Formula Ford machinery, which has helped it to 24 national titles and 11 Festival wins.

Van Diemen (and its FFord factory team) has helped a succession of drivers into the upper echelons of motorsport, including Ayrton Senna, Eddie Irvine and David Coulthard.

Firman received the award from Irvine, and was quick to reminisce about the Irishman's early days. "He was a young man, and very enthusiastic," said Firman. "We were very happy to give him an opportunity and he's gone on and had a great career."

Irvine chipped in: "I was living in a bed-sit! This man changed my life."

Firman also hopes to continue producing future F1 stars. "We still have a good few young drivers in the system," he said. "I'm sure a few more will pop up."

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