20th November 2006

BRDC Rising Star and 2006 Formula Palmer Audi Champion Jon Barnes is one of only six British drivers to be nominated for the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award 2006.

Twenty-three year-old Barnes from Southampton, Hampshire will join five other finalists in a two-day evaluation taking place at Snetterton Circuit later this month, where he will get to drive a trio of cars that include a flame-spitting 450bhp Mercedes DTM touring car, a Porsche Carrera Cup car complete with 400bhp and six-speed sequential gearbox and a Comtec World Series by Renault single seater that features a 450bhp V6 and F1-style ground effect aerodynamics. In addition to the driving, each finalist will also be interviewed on their racing experiences to date, general approach and understanding of motor racing.

Barnes was selected as a finalist by an expert panel of judges comprising BRDC President Damon Hill, MotorSport Vision Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer, former F1-driver Martin Brundle, team boss Trevor Carlin, 1997 Award winner Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren's Head of Engineering Steve Hallam, veteran commentator Ian Titchmarsh and Autosport Editor-at-large Marcus Pye.

The announcement confirming the winner, will take place at the Autosport Awards evening in Park Lane , London on December 3rd. The winner of the Award will receive a McLaren F1 test drive, a GP2 test drive, lifetime membership of the BRDC and £50,000 to put towards a season's racing next year.

“When I first started racing this was something I aspired to achieve, so to actually have my performances recognised in this way is fantastic.” said Jon. "I can't wait to get out on track and try out all the cars. This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I am going to give it my best shot.”

The youngster, in only his first season of single seater racing completely dominated the FPA Championship, taking a record-breaking seven successive wins, and a record number of FPA points to lift the crown with one race in hand. In the final three rounds, held at the magnificent Mugello circuit in the Tuscan region of Italy , Jon won all three races, with fastest lap to take his total to nine wins from the last ten rounds and the title by a comfortable 50 point margin.

“I said after I won the championship that it would be great to get nominated for this award. This award is very highly regarded and winning it would really help to launch me towards the highest levels of world motorsport.”

In addition, Jon has also been nominated for the Autosport Club Driver of the Year Award - which is voted for by the Autosport readers for his performances in the 2006 Formula Palmer Audi Championship.


For media information:  Cathy Metcalfe, MPR Associates

                                     Tel: +44 (0) 1327 352199

                                     Mob: +44 (0) 7802 332398


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