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Josh Webster named RSF MSA Young Driver of the Year

The Motor Sports Association (MSA) is pleased to announce that Josh Webster has won the 2011 RSF MSA Young Driver of the Year award.

The prize – kindly supported by Racing Steps Foundation (RSF) – is awarded annually to a student enrolled on the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) in Motor Sport programme, which forms part of the MSA Academy.

Five apprentices short-listed for this year’s award were: Webster, 17 from Suffolk; Max Coates, 17 from North Yorkshire; Jody Fannin, 18 from Surrey; Chris McCarthy, 18 from London; and David Wagner, 18 from Glasgow.

Last Friday’s shootout took place at Pure Tech Racing (PTR) in Surrey, where the drivers went head-to-head in the centre’s state-of-the-art linked-up race simulators. After 20 minutes familiarisation at the wheel of an F3 car on a fictional race track, each driver was asked to complete a timed ‘visualisation’ lap to see how well they were able to remember the circuit. A qualifying session then set the grid for 40 minutes of excellent racing that witnessed no fewer than four different leaders, before David Wagner took the lead four laps from the end to claim victory.

Team UK National Race Coach David Brabham was on hand throughout the morning and the Le Mans winner was able to debrief each session with the drivers and understand how each approached the challenges of the day.

After lunch the drivers delivered a short presentation on what they have learned as students on the AASE programme in front of the judges: MSA Performance Director Robert Reid; RSF’s Derek Walters; MSA Director of Development Ben Taylor; Autosport magazine’s Ben Anderson; and 2010 winner Jake Cook.

Webster said: "I'm absolutely delighted to win this award and I would like to thank the RSF, the MSA Academy and the judges for this great honour. I am very grateful to the MSA Academy for the mentoring, support and education I have received as a student on the AASE programme, which has given me a solid foundation on which to build my career. I hope to repay the faith that has been shown in me by being a good ambassador for AASE and the Academy and using my experiences to encourage other young drivers to make the most of the great opportunities offered by the MSA."

Reid said: “This year’s finalists all performed really well and there were a couple of real surprises, but Josh stood out, not just on the day itself, but with the progress he has made on the programme in the past year. What was particularly pleasing for me was that each of the drivers paid tribute to the positive effect that the AASE programme has had on their on-track results this year, so we can be sure that we are raising standards across the sport.”

Webster will receive a cheque for £1000 at the MSA’s prestigious Night of Champions ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club on 20 January 2012. All finalists also received a Grand Prix Racewear voucher worth £100.

Image: (left to right) Ben Anderson; Derek Walters; Chris McCarthy; Max Coates; Josh Webster; Jody Fannin; David Wagner; Robert Reid.

12 December 2011