Oct 28, 2022, 10:50 AM

Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver Zak O’Sullivan shines in Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team prize Silverstone test

  • British rising star O’Sullivan receives prize test in Aston Martin AMR21
  • 2021 AMABA winner impresses, completing 32 laps of the legendary Silverstone Grand Prix circuit
  • 2022 Award contenders pushed to the limit in Aston Martin Vantage GT3 as part of two-day 2022 Award assessment

Friday, 28th October, Silverstone: British racing driver Zak O’Sullivan made a big impression on his first test in an Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team car on Tuesday (25 October) – as part of his prize for winning the 2021 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.

The 17-year-old completed 32 laps of Silverstone’s famous 3.66-mile long Grand Prix circuit in an Aston Martin AMR21, similar to the car that recorded a podium finish with Sebastian Vettel in the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

O’Sullivan’s prize test began with a run on wet tyres on a damp track, and later built into a series of dry-tyre runs as conditions improved at the venue, which is also home to the British ultra-luxury sportscar brand’s F1 team. The 2021 GB3 champion then sampled both hard- and soft-compound Pirelli tyres across a total of four runs throughout the day aboard the 1.6-litre V6-powered car, which – combined with a twin-energy hybrid retrieval system – can produce around 1000bhp.

“It was more than I ever imagined, and especially doing it at Silverstone,” O’Sullivan said. “You can do all the preparation and sim work in the world, but nothing really prepares you for that first run in a real F1 car.”

“It was pretty daunting jumping into the Aston Martin for the first time and the way the power kicks in is really something. But, as a racing driver, you get used to the new level of speed and you gain confidence and push harder and harder. The brakes though… It’s the typical answer but I was braking 15-20 metres later than in my F3 car and still carrying 80-90mph more speed – totally ridiculous but very, very cool.

“I enjoyed the day so much and – even though my neck was aching a bit by the end of the day – if someone had given me another set of tyres, I’d happily have gone back out and pushed even harder.”

O’Sullivan won the test, along with a cash prize of £200,000, full British Racing Drivers’ Club membership and an Arai crash helmet, after beating three pre-selected rivals in a two-day assessment at Silverstone last year in various machinery including an Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Aiming to emulate O’Sullivan’s achievement and win the AMABA in 2022 are four of the most talented rising UK stars of the single-seater world.

Ollie Bearman, who finished third in FIA Formula 3 this year, new GB3 champion Luke Browning, three-time W Series title winner Jamie Chadwick and new Indy Pro 2000 champion Louis Foster are the drivers battling to win the award and the Aston Martin F1 Team test.

All four drove extensively in a range of racing cars, including Beechdean AMR’s Vantage GT3, which was benchmarked by works driver Jonny Adam, along with machines from sports-prototype and single-seater racing.

The quartet will undergo a range of further assessments by an expert judging panel that is chaired by sportscar legend and ex-BRDC President Derek Warwick, and Aston Martin development driver and three-times Le Mans 24 Hours class winner Darren Turner. The winner will be announced at the annual Autosport Awards gala dinner, in London, on 4 December.

Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team Principal Mike Krack, said: “We were impressed with Zak on what wasn’t an easy day with the track conditions. The car is so different to what he’s used to in Formula 3 and there are a lot more people involved in the running of this car, and so many more distractions. He adapted in a very logical way. His feedback was good and made a lot of sense against what we saw on the data. Ultimately what we found was that Zak took information onboard well, made no mistakes and went about everything in a very positive and promising way. This is just as we’ve come to expect from the level of talent that is produced by the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award.”