We always said we’d bring back the Autocar awards, and now we’ve done it. McLaren boss Ron Dennis was last night declared the first winner of an important new Autocar award, the Issigonis Trophy, one of two important new automotive accolades whose winners were announced at an annual ceremony called Autocar Stars.
Around 150 industry leaders gathered at west London’s Hurlingham Club to see Autocar editor Chas Hallett and editor-in-chief Steve Cropley make the awards. “It’s quite a few years since we last staged an event like this,” said Chas Hallett. “We wanted to come back with awards we felt were worthy of world’s oldest motoring magazine – and of the very special people we want to honour – and now I believe we’ve achieved it.”
Named after Sir Alec Issigonis, creator of the legendary Mini, the Issigonis Trophy will be go annually to the highest achieving motoring person of the year, chosen by a specially appointed Autocar judging panel.
Ron Dennis took this year’s award for an extraordinary balance of achievements: the excellence of the P1 mega-car, which last week achieved a five-star road test verdict; for the fact that his road-car manufacturing arm, McLaren Automotive, has achieved profitability even before it launches what is likely to be its best-selling model, currently codenamed P13; for 30 years of achievements in grand prix racing; and for his passionate advocacy of British manufacturing industry.
The second major accolade, dubbed the Sturmey Award after Autocar’s founding editor, Henry Sturmey, was accepted on behalf of Tesla Motors’ UK country director Georg Ell, in recognition of the company’s excellent Model S electric executive saloon, which has swiftly led to the establishment of Tesla as a prestige brand whose desirability is on a par with BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar.
An addition, trophies were awarded to the manufacturers of the eight distinguished cars currently on sale that have achieved five-star verdicts in Autocar’s exacting road test process: Jaguar XFR, Ferrari 458, Morgan 3 Wheeler, BMW 320d, Toyota GT86, Porsche Cayman, Mercedes S-class and McLaren P1.