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Strong representation of MSA drivers on McLaren Autosport BRDC Award shortlist

The shortlist of racing drivers to contest this year’s prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award was announced last week. Of the six drivers selected by the organisers, three are already members of the Motor Sports Association’s Academy structure – as was last year's overall winner, Alexander Sims.

James Calado is a member of the MSA Race Elite programme and as such benefits from the guidance of 2009 Le Mans champion David Brabham. James’ performances in the 2009 Formula Renault UK series have delivered eight wins and earned rave reviews on his way to becoming championship runner-up.

James Cole did enough in his first season of Formula Ford to warrant the MSA Race Academy taking a closer look at his talents. It was to prove a good decision, as James delivered seven race wins this year and secured the title in confident fashion.

Chrissy Palmer is one of the first intake of students on the MSA’s Advanced Apprenticeship in Motor Sport. He took five wins in 2009, including a double-header in the final round of the championship. As an Advanced Apprentice, Chrissy will benefit from coaching and training to improve his competitive performance while at the same time achieving A-level equivalent qualifications. The government-funded scheme is delivered for the MSA by Croydon College.

Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive:
“Winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC award last year has taken Alexander Sims’ career to the next level and he was gracious enough to acknowledge the significant role that the MSA Elite has played in his development. We are delighted to see three of our current young drivers on the shortlist this year and we are confident that the skills developed on their programmes will stand them in good stead on the day.

"The MSA continues to invest heavily in Elite talent as part of our Whole Sport Plan for the development of UK motor sport. We have some exciting plans for next year that will make the Elite scheme even more attractive for the UK’s best young drivers and will help to deliver further international success for this country.”

The McLaren Autosport BRDC shoot-out and assessment day takes place at Silverstone next month, during which the candidates will drive a variety of single-seater and saloon cars and be interviewed by an expert judging panel that includes 1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill.

Release MSA09-042: 16 October 2009