The cream of Scotland’s motor racing — including Bathgate’s Dario Franchitti and multiple grand prix winner David Coulthard — gathered in Edinburgh for the annual Scottish Motor Racing Club gala ceremony with both drivers scooping awards.
While Franchitti — who won America’s major open-wheel series, the IndyCar Championship, for a second time in three years — lifted the Callands Trophy, Coulthard collected the night’s major prize, the cherished John Romanes Trophy in front of a sell-out 300-plus audience.
Awarded to the Scot who has displayed ‘excellence in motorsport throughout his career,’ the trophy has previously only been won by four drivers: Franchitti, double Le Mans 24-Hours winner Allan McNish and former European Formula 3 champ Paul Di Resta.
The fourth driver, former British Touring Car Championship ace David Leslie who was tragically killed in a plane crash in Kent in 2008, also masterminded the early careers of McNish, Franchitti and Coulthard.
“I feel very privileged to be joining such a select group of Scottish drivers,” admitted Coulthard —who won 13 of the 247 F1 grands prix he raced, racked up 62 podiums and amassed 535 world championship points — at the ceremony in the Sheraton Hotel.
“I’ve been fortunate to race all round the world in F1, but wherever it’s been — Monaco, Monza, Spa, Bahrain or Silverstone — I’ve always been proud to wear the Saltire on my racing helmet and fly the flag for Scotland.
“Scotland has such a fantastic motor racing heritage, with famous Formula One world champions Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart leading the way. But we mustn’t forget the Ecurie Ecosse team who started it all by winning at Le Mans in 1956 and ‘57.
“And, of course, we’ll never forget our world rallying champion, Colin McRae,” the former Williams, McLaren and Red Bull racer, who started his career in karts before graduating to single-seaters at Knockhill, continued.
“As I climbed through the ranks ultimately to F1, I never forgot the important guidance and backing I received from the SMRC and people like David Leslie senior and junior, and Jackie Stewart.
“In many ways this award is as much, if not perhaps more, for them as for me. They are the people guided, cajoled and inspired me to race at the highest level. I’m honoured to receive this fantastic trophy.”
Alongside Coulthard and Franchitti, whose Callands Trophy was awarded to the Scot who has performed best in an international championship, a number of other talented Scots received recognition.
Dunblane’s Ross Marshall and Hamilton’s Alasdair Gauld, who finished first and second in the Scottish Legends Championship respectively, won the Hartley Whyte and Sheila Whyte trophies for up-and-coming young racers.
And while the William Lyons Trophy for the top Scots performance in sportscars went to Edinburgh’s Andrew Smith, Dunfermline’s Rory Butcher received the Ecurie Ecosse Hub Cap for dominating the Scottish Formula Ford Championship.
In only his first full season racing in the GB Porsche Carrera Cup, Aberdeen’s Glynn stormed to the Pro-Am1 Championship. His success was recognised by being awarded the Rothmans Trophy for being the Top Scot in a UK Championship.
The success of Scottish motorsport was praised by McNish, acknowledged as being the fastest sportscar racer in the world, in his role as SMRC President.
“For a small nation, Scotland continues to outpunch its weight on the global motorsport stage,” the Dumfries racer, who was also joined by German Touring Car ace Di Resta at the ceremony, said.
“Without question the best performance this year was Dario, winning the IndyCar Championship for a second time after, essentially, a year off in Nascar.
“But what’s important for all of us in the SMRC is that we continue to work hard and plan to ensure we have the next generation of fast and successful Scottish drivers coming through the ranks.
“That remains our principal aim and together we will do everything in our powers to make sure we can find the next Scottish Formula One World Champion.”