BRDC young drivers on track

Behind the Scenes with Future Stars of Motorsports

It is no secret that British racing drivers have been amongst some of the most successful in the world. With key figures including the likes of Moss, Stewart, Hunt, Coulthard, Hamilton and Button to name a few, it is safe to say that the British racing talent pool is second to none! In recognition of the UK’s track record for producing elite homegrown talent, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), in partnership with Aston Martin and Autosport, sets out on a yearly mission to not only reward some of the most promising British young drivers, but also assist them in striving towards their ultimate goal of reaching top level motor racing championships. This is achieved through the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award (AMABA), which is the jewel in the crown of the BRDC’s Young Driver Programme.

Silverstone Circuit, as the home of British motorsport, has the unique opportunity each year to host the award finalists over two days of rigorous driving assessments.  The finalists test their skills in a variety of bucket list-worthy racing cars including a Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and a United Autosports Ligier JS P320 Le Mans Prototype (LMP3), with most laps taking place behind the wheel of an MSV-prepared Williams JPH-1B previous generation F2 car! With the 2022 assessments having taken place towards the end of October, and the winner due to be announced at the Autosport Awards on Sunday 4 December, you now have an opportunity to join us behind the scenes as we look back on the event.

BRDC Drivers on track

We start our AMABA review with the setup day and although this year’s finalist didn’t have any driving commitments, the award was already well underway with the finalists having already participated in a simulator test with Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team and a fitness assessment with Athletic Thinking in the previous weeks. As the race teams set up in the International Paddock at the Silverstone Wing, the drivers started to arrive, firstly to collect their award kit from Grand Prix Racewear and then to conduct their seat fittings in the different racing cars. Warming up the track was 2021 award winner, Zak O’Sullivan, who joined this year’s cohort to enjoy the phenomenal opportunity to test a Formula One car courtesy of Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team on an empty Silverstone circuit as part of his award prize. With a full pit crew at his disposal and clean air all the way, it was no surprise that this year’s finalists were itching to get behind the wheel themselves.

The 2022 line-up consists of FIA Formula 3 Championship race winner Oliver Bearman, GB3 Champion Luke Browning, W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick and Indy Pro 2000 Champion Louis Foster, the level of competition couldn’t have been higher. Now is your chance to get up close and personal with the drivers in our highlights video, find out what the competition means to them, and just what makes the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit so special.

"Finalists are selected based upon their performances in single-seater racing during the course of the season. They are clearly all very talented individuals who have the potential to climb to the highest levels of motor racing. During the AMABA assessment, they are subjected to the most exacting two days of their careers.” - Stuart Pringle, Silverstone Managing Director



The first driving assessment day started with a roar as the drivers took to the track in our Silverstone Experience cars. These Aston Martin V8 Vantage road cars were the perfect hot rods to get the wheels turning and with traction control turned off, the drivers could properly assess the track conditions by exploring the limits of grip. This was the first time that the finalists were allowed on track, and it was clear to see that the competitive sparks were flying when the drivers returned to the pitlane and started discussing who would walk away from the session with the bragging rights. It was then time to fire up the Beechdean Aston Martin GT3 and United Autosports Ligier LMP3 racing cars in the pit lane. In true Silverstone style, the racing gods gave the finalists a wet morning and the drivers took it in turns to switch between the LMP3 and GT3 throughout the day on a drying track. By communicating their ideas to the engineers and benchmark lap drivers, the finalists explored every possible avenue through which they could try to maximise their lap times.

The judging panel, chaired by ex-Formula One Driver and Sportscar World Champion Derek Warwick, includes previous award winners Dario Franchitti, Darren Turner, Andrew Kirkaldy, Alexander Sims, double British Touring Car champion Jason Plato, successful Lola and McLaren designer Mark Williams, Le Mans-winning engineer Leena Gade, leading trackside commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Autosport Chief Editor Kevin Turner. The judges all kept a watchful eye on the drivers’ progress by monitoring timing screens, standing on some of Silverstone’s most iconic and testing corners, and monitoring track limits on the circuit’s cameras. As the track reaches optimal conditions in the afternoon, there was just enough time for the finalists to have a few outings in the MSV F2 cars on soft-compound Pirelli slick tyres.

The final driving assessment day was all about the F2 cars. Despite persistent rain at the circuit, the lap times got quicker and quicker as the day progressed. With a fast circuit, challenging wet conditions and a 425bhp turbo-charged beast under the right feet of the finalists, it was an experience not for the faint-hearted. The noise from the pit wall was addictive and the there was a constant level of graft in the garages, as the mechanics and engineers work to tweak the setup under the direction of our finalists. As sunset approached, the assessment days came to an end and the drivers all did a fantastic job. The judges then retired to discuss all of the data and set about performing the unenvied task of selecting the 2022 award winner.

BRDC Drivers on track

These drivers are the future of our sport and over the days we hosted them, it was incredible to see the level of skill and performance at such an early stage in their careers. We are proud to support the careers of the future stars of motor racing here at Silverstone.

“What is so wonderful about the AMABA assessment days is that Silverstone has a chance to host and deliver what will be a thoroughly life enhancing experience for three people, and for one person, it will be life changing.” - Stuart Pringle Silverstone Managing Director