Three graduates of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost have been selected as finalists for the prestigious Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award.
Enaam Ahmed, Johnathan Hoggard and Ayrton Simmons have all made the final four, with the inaugural W Series champion Jamie Chadwick completing the line-up.
The finalists will undergo fitness and simulator evaluations at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, then a two-day test at the Silverstone GP circuit in MSV Formula 2, Ligier LMP3 and Garage 59-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3 cars.
The prize – announced at the annual Autosport Awards on 8th December, includes a test in a Red Bull Formula 1 car, £200,000, a run in Aston Martin’s GTE WEC challenger, full BRDC membership and an Arai helmet, as well as a TAG Heuer watch.
BRDC vice-president Derek Warwick chairs the judging panel, which also includes past Award winners Darren Turner, Andrew Kircaldy and Alexander Sims, double BTCC champion Jason Plato, Lola and McLaren designer Mark Williams, Le Mans-winning engineer Leena Gade, renowned commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Autosport magazine editor, Kevin Turner.
Ahmed contested the F4 British Championship in it’s inaugural guise as MSA Formula back in 2015, claiming four podium finishes – including an overall race victory – with Arden en route to the Rookie title. He has since gone on to contest British F3, Euroformula Open, FIA European F3 and is currently racing in the Japanese F3 Series, with two victories to his name in 2019.
Both Simmons and Hoggard are more recent names among Ford’s rising stars, finishing second and third respectively last term. Between the pair they claimed a staggering twelve race victories, twenty-two podium finishes and over 700 points with JHR Developments and Fortec Motorsport respectively.
Their selection means the F4 British Championship’s superlative record for producing finalists for the competition continues; nine of the ten drivers long-listed were former or present runners, with past winners such as Lando Norris and Dan Ticktum also among the category’s star-studded list of alumni.
“I had no clue I’d be chosen! I didn’t win Japanese F3 so I wasn’t sure I’d be considered,” admitted Ahmed.
“It’s been a hard year – I signed the deal late and rocked up not knowing the tracks, which are quite difficult. It’s been a good learning year so I think I will be more professional when I come back.
“It’s definitely an advantage to have done it before and I know how the Award works. There are a lot of things I’ll do differently. I know where I was lacking before and it took me too long to be quick.”
“It’s such a wide variety of cars, you get a challenge in all of them,” added Hoggard.
“My background is in single-seaters and I hope to adapt to the F2 car quite quickly, but the GT3 will be really different. With how much backing there is from Aston Martin it’s a big prize this year and it’s a great list of people who have won it, including current F1 drivers.”
“It’s amazing. It’s something I had in mind and it’s such a prestigious award,” enthused Simmons.
“I had a lot of pace this season, but didn’t always get the results. It wasn’t a surprise to be in the final 10, but I wasn’t sure I’d make the final four. It’s been a good year and I’ve learned a lot.
“I’m looking forward to the Aston Martin and I’ve heard the F2 car is good. I’m looking forward to pressing that boost button!”