Johnathan Hoggard and Ayrton Simmons have been confirmed as two of the four finalists in this year’s Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.
Hoggard and Simmons join 2017 British F3 Champion Enaam Ahmed and 2018 F3 race winner Jamie Chadwick, who took the W Series title this year, meaning all four of this year’s finalists have raced and won in BRDC British F3 during their careers.
This year’s winner will receive a test in an Aston Martin Red Bull F1 car, £200,000, a run in Aston Martin’s GTE World Endurance Championship car, full BRDC membership and an Arai helmet. Each finalist also receives a TAG Heuer watch, with the overall winner announced at the Autosport Awards in London in December.
British F3’s recent pedigree in the honour is unrivalled, with last year’s winner Tom Gamble and previous award recipients Lando Norris, Will Palmer and George Russell all having competed in either BRDC British F3 or predecessor BRDC F4.
Fortec Motorsport’s Hoggard won seven races in BRDC British F3 this year, and narrowly missed out on the championship title, but did win the Sunoco Whelen Challenge and the prize drive at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Chris Dittmann Racing’s Simmons won three races in 2019, and was a championship contender all season, scoring more wins than the eventual champion Clement Novalak.
Hoggard told Autosport: “I've seen BRDC British F3 drivers being nominated before and Tom Gamble won it last year so it's a good championship to be in. My main goal was to win the championship - that didn't work out, but I'm still happy with the season.
"It's such a wide variety of cars, you get a challenge in all of them. My background is in single-seaters and I hope to adapt to the F2 car quite quickly, but the GT3 will be really different.
"With how much backing there is from Aston Martin, it's a big prize this year and it's a great list of people who have won it, including current F1 drivers."
Simmons commented: "It's amazing. It's something I had in mind and it's such a prestigious award.
"I had a lot of pace this season, but didn't always get the results. It wasn't a surprise to be in the final 10, but I wasn't sure I'd make the final four. It's been a good year and I've learned a lot.
"I'm looking forward to the Aston Martin and I've heard the F2 car is good. I'm looking forward to pressing that boost button!"
The finalists will undergo fitness and simulator elements at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing before the two-day test at Silverstone in MSV F2, Ligier LMP3 and Aston Martin Vantage GT3 cars.
British Racing Drivers' Club vice-president Derek Warwick is the chairman of the judging panel, which includes previous award winners Darren Turner, Andrew Kirkaldy and Alexander Sims, double British Touring Car champion Jason Plato, successful Lola and McLaren designer Mark Williams, Le Mans-winning engineer Leena Gade, leading commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Autosport magazine editor Kevin Turner.
Aston Martin is a new partner for the award, which has previously been won by 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.
21 October 2019 - BRDC British F3 confirms upgraded car package for 2020
30 September 2019 - BRDC British F3 the place to race to become an award finalist!
18 September 2019 - Simmons: “One of the best seasons I’ve had”
16 September 2019 - Johnathan Hoggard claims Sunoco Whelen Challenge and drive at Daytona