Last Monday in London, as many as 11 awards (out of 25 bestowed) were given to drivers whom have competed at the 24 Hours, whether in 2017 for most of them or in the 1980s and 1990s for Derek Warwick, outgoing president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) and winner at Le Mans in 1992 with Peugeot.
Derek Warwick, who assumed the club's top spot in August of 2011, was honored with the BRDC Gold Medal for his contribution to British motorsport. The former Formula 1 and Endurance racing driver has been replaced by former rally driver Paddy Hopkirk after announcing this past October that he was stepping down as president of the BRDC. Derek Warwick was a title-winner during the final season of the World Sportscar Championship in 1992, a fate shared by one of the stars honored this season by the club.
Though the last three years the number of awards granted to 24 Hours of Le Mans competitors could be counted on one hand, the 2017 class will be long remembered, with a particularly successful track record for two drivers - Brendon Hartley and Jonny Adam - with three trophies each.
The New Zealander (the BRDC welcomes not only British citizens, but also members from countries in the Commonwealth) received the Bruce McLaren Trophy for his high level performances on the international stage, as well as a Special BRDC Gold Star for his World Endurance Champion title (his teammate Earl Bamber, though his fellow countryman, was not in the running as he his not a member of the BRDC). The official Porsche driver will share his third award - the Silverstone-Le Mans Challenge (best combined result at the 6 Hours of Silverstone and the 24 Hours) - with two other Le Mans winners, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber.
Another 24 Hours of Le Mans winner (in the LMGTE Pro class), Jonny Adam, was the recipient of the Fairfield Trophy awarded for an exceptional performance by a member of the BRDC, and will also share two of his trophies with one of his teammates, Darren Turner: the Woolf Barnato Trophy for the British driver and/or team with the best finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a British car, and the ERA Club Trophy for the Brit with the best performance of the year in a British car outside of the U.K. The now three-time class winner at Le Mans was already awarded the first trophy in 2005 and 2008, and the second in 2013.
An award was also given to two adversaries - official Ferrari drivers - of the two British drivers in the LMGTE Pro class, but only one, James Calado, the winner of the BRDC President's Award, won the trophy for his performances in Endurance racing: he became the first World Endurance GT Champion, along with Alessandro Pier Guidi despite an 11th place finish in the class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The second, Sam Bird, fifth in LMGTE Pro at Le Mans, accepted the Earl Rowe Trophy, awarded to the British driver who achieved the best performance in North America, for his two victories in Formula E, electric single-seaters, at the Grand Prix of New York.
Thanks to an unexpected second place overall finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the last two trophies were awarded to the Jackie Chan DC Racing team by way of its association with British outfit Jota Sport: the Nigel Moores Trophy for the best performance by a private team on the international stage, and then one of its three drivers, Oliver Jarvis, accepted via video the ACO Plate for highest placed British driver at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Chinese team, though entered in the "small" LMP2 class, led the race for awhile before the winning Porsche 919 Hybrid, back from the abyss, snatched the win. An extraordinary success at a highly impressive 2017 BRDC Annual Awards…