Motorsport: Russell in line for Young Driver of the Year award

Wisbech racing driver George Russell. Photo supplied
Wisbech racing driver George Russell. Photo supplied
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Wisbech racing driver George Russell (16) has been shortlisted as one of six finalists for the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.

It will be announced this Sunday evening (7 December) at the star-studded Autosport Awards ceremony in London.

The award is arguably the most coveted accolade in the motorsport industry, and has in the past been won by the likes of F1 superstars Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Paul di Resta and Indianapolis 500 legend Dario Franchitti.

Russell was selected as a finalist for winning the 2014 BRDC Formula 4 Championship as a car racing rookie.

As a result of winning the Formula 4 Championship, Russell was invited to take part in a GP3 Series test in Abu Dhabi and he did exceptionally well.

The teenagewhizzkid capped a stunning debut season in car racing by going third fastest around the Yas Marina circuit in the morning session, and then going fifth in the afternoon to end the day in the top five overall

All this was against a 23-strong field of international drivers, nearly all of whom were more experienced than Russell and many of whom have raced GP3 this year.

“Quite a lot of the drivers had raced there the previous weekend, and a few had raced and tested there before, or had driven GP3 cars before,” said Russell.

“I knew it was going to be difficult because I had two things to learn - the GP3 car and the circuit. So I was quite happy.”

The GP3 test came just two days after George was one of a delegation invited to 10 Downing Street by the prime minister to celebrate the British motorsport industry – not bad for someone who isn’t yet old enough to vote!

“It was an honour to be invited – it’s not an everyday occurrence!” said Russell.

“There were only four drivers from my generation. And then we had Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, John Surtees and Dario Franchitti. There were a lot of names there and it was great to be there.

“David Cameron came round to all the little groups and had a chat with us, then he gave a speech on why motorsport is so important to the UK. It was a great experience!”