Lando Norris has been recognised by readers of one of the world’s leading motorsport magazine and websites as well as arguably the most exclusive club in motor racing for what has been a phenomenally successful year. Having collected Autosport’s National Driver of the Year Award last night, the 18-year-old British teenager was given two accolades by the British Racing Drivers' Club in London today (4 Dec).
Ex-F1 team owner Eddie Jordan presented Norris with the Paul Warwick Memorial Trophy at the annual Autosport Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Twelve months ago, Lando was the recipient of the prestigious McLaren Autosport British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Award having impressed judges in various disciplines after winning the Toyota Racing Series, Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula Renault Northern European Cup titles. This year, the McLaren Young Driver has continued his rapid rise in the sport and became the youngest FIA Formula 3 European Champion in history this year.
At the London Hilton on Park Lane earlier today, the BRDC honoured Norris with the Spencer Charrington Trophy – for the highest-placed British driver in the FIA Euro F3 series – and The Richard Seaman Trophy – for the best placed BRDC member in the Gold Star points standings outside Formula One. The BRDC SuperStar, who becomes McLaren’s F1 test and reserve driver for 2018, collects his FIA Formula 3 European Championship silverware at the FIA Champions Press Conference at the Hotel InterContinental Le Grand in Paris on Friday (8 Dec).
Last week Lando produced a solid and productive day of running for McLaren Honda on the final day of the 2017 season in Abu Dhabi last Wednesday (29 Nov). In a closed tyre test involving longer runs and minimal work on the car in the garage, Lando completed his full, pre-planned run programme with no problems, clocking up over 400-miles. He then completed three days of F2 running with Campos, clocking up almost 650-miles finishing most days amongst the top-six fastest cars (30 Nov-2 Dec). Lando’s next competitive on-track event is the “Roar Before the 24” at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida (6-8 Jan). He will acclimatise to the Ligier JS P217 sports-prototype in the three-day test in preparation for his maiden Rolex 24 At Daytona race when he shares the #32 United Autosports entry with double former World F1 Champion Fernando Alonso (SP) and fellow Englishman Phil Hanson.
“Getting these awards is the icing on the cake to what has been another amazing year for me. It means a lot that readers of Autosport took the trouble to vote for me and recognised my achievements. I only had one event in the UK this year but winning that opening race at Silverstone in April was the perfect start to my rookie Euro F3 season. Next year at Silverstone, I will race on the British Grand Prix programme for Carlin in F2 so hopefully I can put on another good show for my British fans. Maybe I’ll be in the McLaren for a practice session in my role as the team’s official test driver which would be absolutely awesome in front of my ‘home’ crowd. And I’m honoured to have raced this year with the BRDC logo on my car.
“I had a really good day in the McLaren last week. I was pretty tired after 118 laps but everything was positive and it felt good to get as many laps as I did under my belt. We got through everything that we needed to and didn’t have any issues. It was my first time doing some proper long runs in the car, which has helped me get a better feeling inside the cockpit compared to the Hungary test, as well as learn more about the car and the tyres. The pace was pretty good as well. I was happy, my engineers were happy, I learned what I needed to learn, improved throughout the day and really enjoyed it. Now that my role as reserve driver has been confirmed for 2018, I’m looking forward to working with the team over the winter to help support them with the development of the new car in preparation for next year. I remained in Abu Dhabi for three days of F2 testing which also went well, clocking up some good mileage in preparation for next year with Carlin.”