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Will Palmer was sure he had lost McLaren Autosport BRDC Award

Will Palmer was convinced he had not won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award after he landed the British Club Driver of the Year prize

Will Palmer was sure he had lost McLaren Autosport BRDC Award

After picking up the national gong, voted for by Autosport readers, at the start of the evening, Palmer spent the remainder of the Awards mistakenly believing it was a consolation prize.

The BRDC Formula 4 champion said it intensified the shock when he learned he had won the main award, which carries with it a McLaren Formula 1 test, £100,000, full BRDC membership and a Arai GP-6 RC carbon crash helmet.

"I thought as soon as I won that, it was definitely over for the main award," he told Autosport.

"It was just the most amazing feeling. I didn't expect to be winning it at all after winning Club driver.

"There was so much emotion going on I had to try and get it back together to speak on stage.

"It's a dream come true to be honest."

Palmer beat Jack Aitken, Ben Barnicoat, Ricky Collard, Jake Hughes and Toby Sowery to become the 27th recipient of the award.

He hopes it will help remove him from the shadow cast by his father Jonathan - an ex-F1 racer, Le Mans 24 Hours runner-up and now multiple UK circuit owner as MotorSport Vision boss - and brother Jolyon, the 2014 GP2 champion who will drive for the revived factory Renault team in F1 next year.

"Obviously my family has a long history in motorsport and with my brother being in Formula 1 next year it's easy for me to maybe look like just the brother of Jolyon Palmer," the 18-year-old added.

"Instead, this award is huge in making it clear I'm a driver in my own right and I'm trying as hard as I can to get to F1 as well.

"Hopefully this is a big step in getting there one day."

Palmer has tested GP3 and Formula 3 machinery since the end of his record-breaking BRDC F4 season and is eyeing a move into one of those categories over stepping into two-litre Formula Renault.

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