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Ford's 2015 Jim Clark Award honours unsung hero of Scottish motorsport

Ford's 2015 Jim Clark Award honours unsung hero of Scottish motorsport

The Association of Scottish Motoring Writers has awarded this year's Ford-sponsored Jim Clark Award to a major force in local motorsport, Graham Brunton.

Now competition secretary for The Scottish Motor Racing Club (SMRC), Brunton is an ambassador for the sport, for the last 25 years helping young Scottish drivers make their first moves into motorsport.

Graham's passion for motorsports and single-seat racing saw him breaking down barriers with his 'Racing for Scotland' project, the forerunner to the 'Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Initiative' launched earlier this year.

Graham Brunton's life-long interest in race cars started when he was 13 years old. By the age of 16, he was competing in hill climbs and sprints before moving into circuit racing with Formula Ford. He became an instructor at Knockhill Circuit in 1989, started the Formula Ford Zetec class in Scotland in 2000, and created the Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship in 2007.

He has been successfully preparing racing cars since 1985, and through his racing team, Graham Brunton Racing, he has prepared race-winning cars for the Scottish Formula Ford Championship every year since 2000.

His position as the longest serving instructor at Knockhill and, for the last three years, as Competition Secretary for the SMRC, made Brunton influential in securing the backing of Ecurie Ecosse for the 'Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Initiative'. Ecurie Ecosse is enjoying new success with Driver Marco Attard winning the 2013 British GT GT3 Championship for the team, its first title success for over 20 years.

Brunton created the SMRC's Young Driver Award in 2013 and launched 'Racing for Scotland' with rising star driver Ciaran Haggerty, a programme created to give young kart racers a pathway into single-seat cars. This transitioned into the 'Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Initiative' and is supported by many famous names in Scottish motorsport. Like Brunton, they are determined to ensure Scotland continues to produce successful drivers to follow in the footsteps of Champions like Jim Clark and Sir Jackie Stewart.

The initiative enabled Ciaran Haggerty to compete in the 2015 BRDC Formula 4 Championship, while 17-year-old Adam MacKay is racing in this year's Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship.

Alisdair Suttie, president of the Association of Scottish Motor Writers, said: "Graham Brunton is one of the unsung heroes of Scottish motorsport and we are delighted to recognise his efforts by presenting him with this year's Jim Clark Memorial Award.

"So often it is the drivers who get the limelight, but it is only through the tireless dedication and counsel of people like Graham that talented young Scottish drivers get noticed and supported as they progress through the sport."

Graham Brunton added: "I am honoured to receive this year's Jim Clark Award for doing something that I have been so passionate about for my whole life. Like my colleagues at the Scottish Motor Racing Club, I am excited to see an increasing number of Scottish youngsters taking part in single-seat racing, and encourage them to treat their early steps as an apprenticeship to prepare them for progression through higher levels in the sport."

Previous recipients of the joint Ford and Scottish Motoring Writers' Jim Clark Award for their contribution to transport and motorsport include Jackie Stewart, David Coulthard, Louise Aitken-Walker, rally medic Doctor John Harrington and Andrew Fraser, the Scottish Ford engineer who led the design and development team responsible for Ford's multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.

by: Sophie Williamson-Stothert