Sims scoops Allan Simonsen Award, Davenport Rookie of the Year

The London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, provided a suitably impressive setting for the 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship’s end-of-season awards ceremony this evening (November 6).

The glittering occasion was an opportunity to honour all of this season’s champions from across the SRO Motorsports Group spectrum, as well as a number of drivers whose achievements have earned special recognition.

Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam were on hand to collect their British GT3 Championship trophies alongside Beechdean AMR stablemates, Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn, who were also presented with their GT4 equivalents.

Howard, who added a second GT3 title to the one he clinched in 2013, was also awarded a personalised limited edition Blancpain 8885 S timepiece as his prize for winning the Blancpain Gentleman Trophy.

“It’s so cool!” he said. “I’ve been in British GT a long time and it’s got stronger and stronger and stronger, so to win it when I feel like the championship’s at it’s best is a massive honour. I’ve tried winning the Blancpain Gentleman Trophy for a number of years and the watch is a big bonus! We’re all here to win trophies so to clinch the Drivers’ title twice is a big deal.”

SIMS SCOOPS ALLAN SIMONSEN AWARD

Alexander Sims might have just missed out on the GT3 Drivers’ crown but his overall contribution was recognised with the Allan Simonsen Award, named in honour of one of British GT’s best-loved former stars. Always amongst the fastest Pros this year, Sims also demonstrated his sportsmanship at the final round by being the first to congratulate Adam post-race following Ecurie Ecosse’s early retirement.

Sims, who received the trophy from Allan’s brother Benny and long-time Rosso Verde co-driver Hector Lester, said: “Obviously I’m very humbled to receive the Allan Simonsen Award. I really didn’t expect to win it and thought Jonny had done such a good job that it was a given he’d receive it. But to be recognised for my efforts is lovely; the Award’s very special to British GT and so to be a part of that history is a wonderful thing personally. Full credit to Barwell and BMW Motorsport for giving me the tools to do the job.”

DAVENPORT NAMED ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Luke Davenport was equally shocked to be awarded Rookie of the Year for his part in Tolman Motorsport’s successful maiden season of British GT. While highlights included a GT4 pole position first time out at Oulton Park and gutsy class win at Brands Hatch, it was the young Englishman’s consistency and raw pace throughout the season that ultimately convinced the judges.

“This demonstrates to young drivers that the championship doesn’t just look at who’s winning,” he said. “It’s also a great springboard for drivers like myself who are part-funded trying to make a name for themselves and gain recognition. I’ll treat this as inspiration to do an even better job next year.”

Team principal Mark Lemmer accepted the Teams’ Championship trophy on behalf of Barwell Motorsport, while Academy Motorsport’s Matt Nicoll-Jones picked up the GT4 Teams’ prize.

The inaugural Sunoco Fastest Drivers of the Year were also crowned, with Jonny Adam and James Nash recognised for their respective outright speed in GT3 and GT4 throughout 2015.

It was an especially busy night for Adam who was also presented with a cheque by Anglo American Oil Company managing director Anders Hildebrand as part of his prize for winning this year’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge. The Scot will be in the US this January to prepare for 2016’s Daytona 24 Hours with Action Express Racing.

AVON TYRES BRITISH GT CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 AWARD WINNERS

British GT3 Drivers’ Championship
1st Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam, Beechdean AMR
2nd Marco Attard and Alexander Sims, Barwell Motorsport/Ecurie Ecosse
3rd Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne, Triple Eight Racing

British GT3 Pro-Am Drivers’ Championship
1st Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam, Beechdean AMR
2nd Marco Attard and Alexander Sims, Barwell Motorsport/Ecurie Ecosse
3rd Liam Griffin and Rory Butcher, Oman Racing Team

British GT3 Silver Cup Drivers’ Championship
1st Ahmad Al Harthy, Oman Racing Team
2nd Andrew Watson and Ross Wylie, Von Ryan Racing
3rd Daniel Lloyd, Oman Racing Team

British GT4 Drivers’ Championship
1st Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn, Beechdean AMR
2nd Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson, PMW Expo/Optimum Motorsport
3rd Oz Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw, ISSY Racing

British GT4 Pro-Am Drivers’ Championship
1st Oz Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw, ISSY Racing
2nd Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson, PMW Expo/Optimum Motorsport
3rd David Pattison and Luke Davenport, Tolman Motorsport

British GT4 Silver Cup Drivers’ Championship
1st Ross Gunn and Jamie Chadwick, Beechdean AMR
2nd Aleksander Schjerpen, Century Motorsport
3rd James Birch, Century Motorsport

British GT3 Teams’ Championship
1st Barwell Motorsport
2nd Oman Racing Team
3rd TF Sport

British GT4 Teams’ Championship
1st Academy Motorsport
2nd Beechdean AMR
3rd PMW Expo/Optimum Motorsport

Allan Simonsen Award Winner: Alexander Sims
Rookie of the Year Winner: Luke Davenport
Blancpain Gentleman Trophy Winner: Andrew Howard
Sunoco GT3 Fastest Driver of the Year Winner: Jonny Adam
Sunoco GT4 Fastest Driver of the Year Winner: James Nash

Editor’s notes:

Allan Simonsen Award:
Following the tragic loss of popular Danish driver, Allan Simonsen, at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013 British GT Championship organisers, SRO Motorsports Group, announced that a special award would be created in his honour. Allan had been a regular in the series since 2004 and the prize was intended to ensure his spirit and legacy lived on.

Allan was a familiar face in the British GT paddock and Rosso Verde garage, but it was his ability to produce last-gasp pole position laps and thrilling race stints that really elevated him from the rest. The stylish trophy created in his honour is awarded annually to the driver that races with pace, humility and good humour; characteristics that Simonsen possessed and demonstrated during every British GT weekend.

Sunoco Fastest Driver of the Year:
2015 saw the inaugural Sunoco Fastest Driver of the Year prize awarded to the consistently quickest driver from both classes over the course of the season. It’s based on the total number of overall fastest race laps recorded by each. While James Nash’s three fastest race laps made him the clear GT4 winner, GT3 proved a much closer contest with title rivals Jonny Adam and Alexander Sims tied on two apiece. Adam won the prize based on recording more second fastest race laps.