BRITISH GT DRIVERS WIN PRESTIGIOUS BRDC AWARDS
The achievements of this season’s British GT champions, as well as an out-going title winner, were recognised at the BRDC Awards earlier today in London where Rick Parfitt Jnr, Seb Morris, Will Tregurtha, Stuart Middleton and Jonny Adam became the latest recipients of some very special silverware.
Unlike SRO’s ceremony in Paris 10 days ago, where this year’s GT3 and GT4 champions collected their respective trophies, the British Racing Drivers’ Club’s annual equivalent compared and recognised the outstanding achievements of members competing across all forms of motorsport at home and abroad.
First up were Team Parker Racing’s Parfitt Jnr and Morris whose British GT3 title with Bentley earned them the John Cobb Memorial Trophy. Named after the former Land Speed World Record holder, the award recognises the British driver or drivers racing a British car who achieved success of outstanding character.
It was actually Parfitt Jnr’s second award after he earlier received the Innes Ireland Trophy. The 43-year-old suffers from Crohn’s disease, a debilitating illness that causes intense abdominal pain. Indeed, there were times during 2017 that Parfitt Jnr qualified and raced in severe physical discomfort. But his determination to overcome the illness en route to this year’s title did not go unnoticed by the BRDC who recognised the same qualities of courage and sportsmanship epitomised by the late Ireland.
“This is the pinnacle, really,” he said. “It was such a privilege to be up on stage receiving both awards in front of my peers and so many incredible people from across motor racing. But it’s also very satisfying to achieve the level of credibility that comes from winning awards like these, and amazing to think that my name will forever be on the same trophies as so many greats from our sport. That’s not something anyone can take away from you. Equally, it was nice that the difficulties I’ve had this year, and in previous years, were recognised, and that we’ve managed to achieve something special without always being at 100%.”
The squad that took Morris and Parfitt Jnr to this year’s GT3 crown, Team Parker Racing, were also praised by the BRDC judging panel for the success and standards of preparation across their myriad motorsport programmes.
Meanwhile, Tregurtha and Middleton made history by becoming the first joint winners of the Henry Surtees Trophy, which acknowledges the most outstanding performance by a BRDC Rising Star. And what a performance it was: British GT’s youngest ever title-winning crew in terms of combined age, a points total that single-handedly won HHC Motorsport the GT4 Teams’ crown, and a one-two finish in the Sunoco Whelen Challenge.
“I feel incredibly privileged to accept an award like this and to be considered amongst the BRDC’s brightest prospects,” said Middleton, whose Sunoco Whelen Challenge victory sees him travel to America later this week for a Daytona 24 Hours seat fitting. “I think I can also speak for Will when I say neither of us could have predicted we’d be in this positon 12 months ago. Drivers like Daniel Ricciardo have previously won the Henry Surtees Trophy, so it’s incredible to have our names alongside people like him.”
Elsewhere, two-time British GT champion Jonny Adam – who became the GT3 class’ winningest-ever driver en route to third in the 2017 standings – claimed two international awards. He and Aston Martin Racing co-driver Darren Turner were first presented with the Woolf Barnato Trophy for the highest-placed British drivers racing a British car at Le Mans, before Adam – this year a simultaneous British GT, Blancpain GT Series and Le Mans champion – collected the Fairfield Trophy for outstanding performance by a BRDC member.
British GT’s nine-race 2018 campaign begins at Oulton Park on March 31 – April 2.