The British Racing Drivers' Club (or BRDC) is a membership body that represents the interests of professional racing drivers from the United Kingdom. It was founded in April 1928 by Dr. J. Dudley Benjafield, one of an informal group of British racing drivers known as the "Bentley Boys".
The BRDC began primarily as a socialising club for Benjafield and his fellow drivers but by the time of its inauguration, its 25 members had devised a set of objectives for the club:
- To promote the interests of motor sport generally.
- To celebrate any specific achievement in motor sport.
- To extend hospitality to racing drivers from overseas.
- To further the interests of British drivers competing abroad.
Membership status Edit
The BRDC's membership was initially restricted to experienced and successful drivers, and remains strict to this day. Full membership status is offered only to those who are judged to have been successful at an international level for a number of seasons. Full membership has been awarded to every British or Commonwealth Formula One World Champion. Associate status is awarded to those who have made a significant contribution to motorsport. Honorary membership may be awarded in special cases, such as a notable World Champion who may not otherwise qualify.
Race promotion and circuit ownershipEdit
In 1929, the BRDC became involved in the promotion and organisation of racing events. Its first event was the BRDC 500-Mile Race at Brooklands in October of that year. In the post-war era, the BRDC expanded its activities in this field, taking over the lease of Silverstone from the RAC in 1952. In 1966, the club formed a subsidiary company, Silverstone Circuits Limited, responsible for the development of the British Grand Prix and - after its purchase in 1971 - the circuit itself. Aside from the GP, other notable BRDC-organised events at Silverstone included the BRDC International Trophy.
In recent years, Silverstone and the British GP have become an ongoing contentious issue between the BRDC board and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management, with differences of opinion over the costs involved and the state of the circuit's infrastructure.
Also within the remit of the club are:
- The BRDC Marshals' Club.
- BRDC Club Races.
- BRDC 500 Summer Races.
- The BRDC Walter Hayes Trophy.
Young driver support Edit
The support and development of young British drivers has become an important part of the BRDC's existence, not least with its involvement in the annual McLaren Autosport BRDC Award to honour and promote a young driver from a British championship who, in the eyes of the judges, shows the most talent and potential. Among the BRDC's promotional and developmental schemes is the Stars of Tomorrow karting championship. The BRDC also provides financial backing to selected young British drivers competing in junior formulae.
In 2008, the BRDC announced the creation of its SuperStars program, designed to advise and financially support Britain's most promising young drivers. 1992 BTCC champion Tim Harvey was appointed Director of the program.
Significant people Edit
In 2006, former World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart stepped down from his role as the club's president and his successor, Damon Hill, was elected by the board on 28 April. The position of club chairman was held until June 2007 by former touring car driver Stuart Rolt, a BRDC member since 1979. The new Chairman is Robert Brooks, who is also the Chairman of Bonhams auctioneers.
Presidents of the BRDCEdit
|2006 –||Damon Hill|
|2000 – 2006||Jackie Stewart|
|1993 – 2000||Alexander Hesketh|
|1992 – 1993||Innes Ireland|
|1964 – 1991||Gerald Lascelles|
|1929 – 1964||Francis Curzon|
|1928 – 1929||Dudley Benjafield|
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