Today, racing drivers chase after points in title battles. When the BRDC was young it flirted with a championship series, but soon devised a more flexible award for merit
Racing is built on awards, and no drivers club could live without its own set of gongs. When the infant BRDC sat down to plan its trophy list, it took a bold line: instead of counting points it would hand out a merit award — the Gold Star. Created in 1929, it was seen in the same way as a military decoration, presented to drivers for particular achievements. Over the years drivers have collected Gold Stars for Land Speed Records (Campbell, Eyston, Cobb, Noble, Green), grand prix wins (starting with Seaman) and record-breaking (‘Goldie’ Gardner), as well as simple racing success. And races in any country qualified.
Normally the Club awards one or two Stars a year, though in the distant past it has been as many as six. British world champions get one automatically, and the committee can award special stars: Justin Wilson got one in 2001 for winning the Formula 3000 title.
Today there’s a formal points table weighted towards grands prix, Indy and Le Mans. And though it’s been adjusted to give less emphasis to grands prix, McLaren’s David Coulthard has collected a Star in each of the past five years, matching Graham Hill’s tally.
If DC keeps going, he might be the only BRDC member to approach the Gold Star king — Sir Stirling Moss, who has an incredible 10 Stars to his name. That’s almost a constellation, isn’t it?
1932 Norman Black
A former winner on motorcycles, Black claimed the 1932 Tourist Trophy at Ards driving a supercharged C-type MG Midget. His successful 1932 season also included a fine third place overall in the Double-12 race at Brooklands, when he was part of the Earl of March’s MG entry which claimed the team prize. Black also claimed a victory in the Mannin Beg street-circuit race in Douglas on the Isle of Man, at the wheel of an independently entered MG Magnette.
1934 Charles Dodson
The first racer to win both the two-wheeled and four-wheeled versions of the Tourist Trophy, Dodson triumphed in the 1934 Ards TT at the wheel of a works MG Magnette NE. He also finished second in the Mannin Moar Formula Libre contest on the streets of Douglas driving an Alfa Romeo Monza, and picked up a class prize, again at the wheel of an MG, in the Junior Car Club International Trophy at Brooklands.
1949 Peter Whitehead
A successful season at the wheel of a Ferrari 125 — the first of the marque in private hands — culminated in a fine victory in the Czech Grand Prix. It was the first significant win fora British driver abroad since Dick Seaman, but Whitehead should also have won that year’s French Grand Prix against much more fancied opposition. This true amateur was on course to win at Reims when gearbox problems intervened, dropping him to third.
1978 John Watson
In the year that the Lotus 79 turned F1 chassis design on its head, John Watson and team-mate Niki Lauda were handicapped by the flat-12 layout of the Alfa engines in their Brabhams: its width precluded any ground effect— except when it ran the controversial fan at Anderstorp! But a second place at Monza (after the exclusions of Andretti and Villeneuve), thirds in South Africa and Britain, and fourths in Monaco (he led for 37 laps) and France (he started from pole) meant Watson was the top Brit in the championship.
1989 Kenny Acheson
If you’re young-ish and quick, joining a rising team with experienced vets on board is the perfect scenario. And Acheson proved just what Sauber-Mercedes hoped he’d be: a strong, fresh back-up to Jean-Louis Schlesser’s sportscar title. With wins at Brands and Spa, plus a second at Le Mans, Acheson placed fourth in the points standings. It might have been higher if he hadn’t been ordered to relinquish the lead to his senior partners at Suzuka.
1997 James Weaver
This year sportscar racing surpassed itself in a confusion of overlapping formulae — WSC and GT cars racing in various combinations in Europe and the USA. Switching between his Riley & Scott prototype and the new front-engined Panoz in GT events, Weaver’s thousands of race miles heaped on the BRDC points. Six wins, including Daytona, helped. And he scores an unofficial record, too, as part of the biggest crew ever to share a winning sportscar — that Daytona-winning R&S listed seven drivers!
1929 Sir Henry Segrave, Malcolm Campbell, Sammy Davis
1930 Sir Henry Birkin, Kaye Don, Sammy Davis
1931 Hon Brian Lewis, Norman Black, Capt George Eyston
1932 Ronnie Horton, Earl Howe
1933 Eddie Hall, Earl Howe
1934 Fred W Dixon, Hon Brian Lewis, Charles Dodson
1935 John Cobb, Oliver Bertram, Tim Rose Richards, Earl Howe, Fred W Dixon
1936 Bill Pacey, ‘B Bira’
1937 John Cobb, ‘B Bira’
1938 Capt George Eyston, John Cobb, Lt Col ‘Goldie’ Gardner, Richard Seaman, Oliver Bertram, ‘B Bira’
1939 Ian Connell, Johnny Wakefield
1947 John Cobb, Lt Col ‘Goldie’ Gardner, Reg Parnell
1948 Reg Parnell
1949 Lt Col ‘Goldie’ Gardner, Bob Gerrard, Peter Whitehead
1950 Stirling Moss
1951 Stirling Moss
1952 Stirling Moss
1953 Mike Hawthorn
1954 Stirling Moss
1955 Stirling Moss
1956 Stirling Moss
1957 Stirling Moss
1958 Mike Hawthorn, Stirling Moss
1959 Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss
1960 Jack Brabham
1961 Stirling Moss
1962 Graham Hill
1963 Jim Clark
1964 John Surtees, Graham Hill
1965 Jim Clark, Graham Hill
1966 Jack Brabham, Graham Hill
1967 Denny Hulme
1968 Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Denny Hulme
1969 Jackie Stewart, Bruce McLaren
1970 Denny Hulme
1971 Jackie Stewart
1972 Emerson Fittipaldi, Denny Hulme
1973 Jackie Stewart
1974 James Hunt
1975 James Hunt
1976 James Hunt
1977 James Hunt
1978 John Watson
1979 Alan Jones
1980 Alan Jones
1981 Alan Jones
1982 John Watson
1983 Richard Noble, Jonathan Palmer
1984 Niki Lauda, Derek Bell
1985 Derek Bell
1987 Derek Bell
1988 Martin Brundle
1989 Nigel Mansell, Kenny Acheson
1990 Andy Wallace
1991 Nigel Mansell
1992 Nigel Mansell, Derek Warwick
1993 Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell
1994 Damon Hill, Juan Manuel Fangio
1995 Damon Hill
1996 Damon Hill
1997 Andy Green, James Weaver
1998 David Coulthard
1999 David Coulthard
2000 David Coulthard
2001 David Coulthard, Justin Wilson
2002 David Coulthard