Keeping track of the BRDC'S star prizes

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

Current page

182

The British Racing Drivers’ Club Gold Star is historically a coveted prize for the best British and Commonwealth racing drivers who compete around the globe. It remains so to this day – just ask Lewis Hamilton. But its public profile outside of the club is perhaps not as great as it should be.

In the hope of addressing this, Motor Sport has joined forces with the BRDC to run regular updates of the Gold Star standings, along with its national racing sister award, the Silver Star. Not only is this a way of celebrating the wonderful heritage of the club and its prestigious awards, it is also a useful means for us – and you – to track the progress of British and Commonwealth racing stars throughout the season.

Here, circuit commentator and BRDC director Ian Titchmarsh recounts the history of the Gold and Silver stars, explains the points-scoring system and lists the 2009 drivers’ standings so far.

*****

Pagani’s Restaurant was where it all began. On March 12, 1928 a group of eminent British motor racing personalities met to combine the dinners of Dr Dudley Benjafield with the concept of Brooklands chief timekeeper ‘Ebby’ Ebblewhite into the British Racing Drivers’ Club. It was decided that only proper racing drivers should be eligible for membership together with such others, ‘Ebby’ being a prime example, as might be deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the sport.

Although championships as such were few and far between in those days, it was thought a good thing if the club recognised the outstanding performance of the year by one of the members in racing and record-breaking. And so on October 1, 1928 the club’s general committee met and passed a resolution regarding a ‘Club Award of Merit’.

It was decided that a single award would be made each year in the form of a gold plaque that would “cost not more than £14”. At a further meeting held at Pagani’s on October 8, an aggregate points system was agreed upon as the best method to decide the winner. The yet-to-be-knighted Malcolm Campbell and Kaye Don agreed not to attend this second meeting being likely recipients of the inaugural award.

World records would be worth 12 points compared with winning a Grand Prix or Le Mans, which scored a mere eight. As the first driver to exceed 130mph on the Brooklands Outer Circuit and winner of the first Ards Tourist Trophy, it was Dublin-born Don who was awarded this unique plaque. Before the end of January 1929 the committee had decided that, in addition to a ‘Championship Trophy’, up to three stars should be given each year as awards of merit.

At the December committee meeting, a design for a five-pointed star was rejected in favour of one with 10 points and “the Hon Secretary was requested to order the three awards to cost not more than £3 each”. A ballot decided that the recipients of these first three stars should be Sir Henry Segrave for breaking the Land Speed Record at Daytona with the Sunbeam ‘Golden Arrow’, Malcolm Campbell for some lesser records at Verneuk Pan in South Africa, and Sammy Davis for his track racing successes. It was surely coincidence that both Campbell and Davis were members of the general committee. Kaye Don won the points-based Championship Trophy but this award was dropped from 1930 onwards as the stars became ascendant.

Throughout the 1930s at least two Gold Stars were awarded annually on a points basis for success in track and road racing respectively, with a third available for “outstanding performances” at the discretion of the committee. Curiously, for 1931 it was decided that “it was not possible to select any outstanding achievement, and it was therefore decided not to make such award”. That was in October, Sir Malcolm Campbell having earlier in the year set a new Land Speed Record at some 246mph – not outstanding enough it seems. However, the committee had second thoughts a few weeks later and gave the award to George Eyston for achieving 100 miles in the hour in his 750cc MG EX120. But nothing for Sir Malcolm.

In 1938 no less than six Gold Stars were awarded, three for record breaking, one to Richard Seaman for his win in the German Grand Prix and the two road racing and track stars, the former to ‘B Bira’ who thus achieved his hat-trick.

After World War II, Bira’s hat-trick paled by comparison with the extraordinary achievement of Stirling Moss who, from being the youngest ever winner of a Gold Star at the age of 21 in 1950, took the points-based award every year of that decade apart from 1953, when Mike Hawthorn’s first season with Ferrari earned him his first Gold Star. Mike’s second came almost posthumously for winning the World Championship in 1958.

With 10 Gold Stars, all won on points, Sir Stirling has four more than David Coulthard, another winner on points alone, while Sir Jackie Stewart also has six to his name, including three for his World Championships and another for his win in the 1968 German Grand Prix.

In more recent times hat-tricks and better have been achieved, usually by the top British Formula 1 driver of the day, but only one man has won three in one year – the great Jim Clark in his annus mirabilis of 1965 when he won both the World Championship and the Indianapolis 500. Only once has there been a tie on points – in 1989 when Nigel Mansell’s first year with Ferrari brought either podiums or retirements while Kenny Acheson was enjoying a superb season with the Group C Sauber.

For 1977 the then-club secretary, Pierre Aumonier, recommended to the club’s board that there should be an equivalent award for the most successful club member competing in UK events, and thus was born the Silver Star. Today this is focused on the three major British championships in which members compete: the BTCC, British F3 and British GT.
To be elected a full or life member of the BRDC, a driver has to achieve a significant measure of success in the sport. To then emerge as the most successful of your fellow members in the major categories of international and national racing is one of the main reasons why the Gold and Silver stars are so highly coveted and prized.

Gold and silver star points scoring

From the outset the annual Gold Stars have been awarded on a points basis according to results in international and national open races. Time was when a little chauvinism meant that it was worth more to win a major event at Brooklands than to win Le Mans, the Targa Florio or one of the principal Continental Grands Prix! Nowadays there is a bias in favour of Formula 1,
Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500 which are scored: 1st 27, 2nd 21, 3rd 16, 4th 12, 5th 9, 6th 7, 7th 5 and 8th 3, according to overall positions.

All other qualifying races, essentially every major international racing series in which BRDC members are likely to compete, from GP2 and the IRL IndyCar Series to the World Touring Car Championship and NASCAR, are scored: 1st 21, 2nd 16, 3rd 12, 4th 9, 5th 7 and 6th 5. Every race is counted towards the total.

Class wins in long-distance series like the Le Mans Series, FIA GT and Grand-Am are scored: 1st 14, 2nd 10 and 3rd 7. But a member can only count the better of an overall or class win, so that an LMP2 driver finishing second at, say, Sebring will score 16 ‘overall’ points rather than 14 ‘class win’ points. Had he finished third, it is the latter which will count rather than 12 ‘overall’ points.

Where cars are shared, a member must have driven at least 30 per cent of the distance, while class points count only when there are at least six starters.

For the Silver Star the scoring system is: 1st 20, 2nd 15, 3rd 12, 4th 10, 5th 8, 6th 6, 7th 4, 8th 3, 9th 2 and 10th 1. This is based on overall positions in the three qualifying series, i.e. BTCC, British F3 and British GT, including races outside the UK. Only the best 12 results count and there are no separate class points.

You may also like

Related products