BRDC British F3 race winners Johnathan Hoggard and Ayrton Simmons have an anxious wait as they build up to potentially one of the biggest nights of their careers so far on Sunday.
The pair are among the four finalists for this year’s Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award, alongside Enaam Ahmed and Jamie Chadwick, also previous British F3 contenders. The winner of this year’s prize, one of the biggest accolades in world motorsport, will be announced on Sunday evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, and will receive a test in an Aston Martin Red Bull F1 car, £200,000, a run in Aston Martin’s GTE World Endurance Championship challenger, full BRDC membership and an Arai helmet.
Previous award winners include Jenson Button, Dario Franchitti, David Coulthard, Anthony Davidson, Lando Norris and George Russell, while Tom Gamble, a British F3 race winner with Fortec in 2018 was last year’s recipient.
Simmons was named as an award finalist after an excellent BRDC British F3 season with Chris Dittmann Racing. He claimed three wins and seven additional podiums on the way to third in the championship standings, and was firmly in the title fight heading to the final rounds of the season.
The 18-year-old admits he was pleased with his performance during the assessments.
“I was really happy with the way I performed over the two days. It was certainly really intense but I was surprised with how calmly and well I took things,” he commented.
Simmons acknowledges that the tests were tough, particularly when it came to driving a series of cars he wasn’t familiar with.
“For me it was tough just jumping in three cars I’d never driven before. I think the main challenge for me was probably the GT car as I’d never driven anything without downforce. In the F2 and LMP cars I felt quite comfortable after a couple of laps but I’d say the GT car was my weaker point. I’m not saying I was slow or fast, but it didn’t feel as natural without downforce and going into slow corners and having a larger amount of weight.”
The Essex contender also believes that winning the award would have a significant bearing on his future motorsport prospects.
“It would mean so much, on a personal level for confidence, and for my career as well,” he said. “To be alongside top names like George Russell, Lando Norris, Dan Ticktum, to be among those would be pretty special and it would mean people are looking out for me a bit more.
“Several people who have won the award before have made it to F1 or are knocking on the doors, so it would mean the world. Not only that and the reputation, but also to get the prestigious F1 test and the £200,000 to go along with it will help massively, certainly when you don’t have a budget advantage.”
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