The top three finishers in this years Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) were honoured at the annual Royal Automobile Club Belgium awards in Brussels last night [21st December].
Champion Michael Benyahia received his NEC championship trophy alongside R-ace GP team-mate and runner up Gilles Magnus, and third placed Bartek Mirecki, who finished just adrift of the pairing with his self-run BM Racing outfit.
All three were presented with their respective silverware in front of a capacity crowd by Mick de Haas, representing both the RACB and the NEC as the championship’s promoter.
The trio have since gone on to explore exciting opportunities within motorsport, underlining the championship’s track record of developing the next generation of motorsport stars.
Benyahia recently travelled to Hong Kong as part of his Development Driver role at the Venturi Formula E team, working closely with race drivers Maro Engel and Eduardo Mortara to work on race strategies and the car setup.
He will take to the wheel in person at the in-season rookie test ahead of the Marrakech ePrix as he continues to pursue a career in electric single-seater racing.
Magnus is unlikely to return to fight for the honours again next season, but looks set to explore several exciting opportunities down the GT route in 2018, whilst Mirecki is set for a part-season return as he continues to manage his very successful outfit back in Poland alongside his own racing activities.
R-ace GP Team Principal Thibaut de Merindol was also on hand to collect the Teams’ Championship accolade after his quartet of drivers established themselves as the benchmark in the series this year.
Next season’s championship fight looks set to be just as closely contested, with a number of the world’s finest junior single-seater teams already eyeing up an exciting six-event calendar, taking in a number of FIA Grade I, Formula 1-hosting circuits such as the Hungaroring, Monza, and the legendary Spa-Francorchamps, as well as a support slot on the iconic Pau Grand Prix weekend.
Michael Benyahia said, “I’m thrilled to be here at the RACB awards and it was fantastic being invited to accept my Formula Renault NEC trophy in front of such a huge crowd. The championship has been really crucial to my development and I’ve learnt plenty I can now take forward into my Development Driver role with the Venturi Formula E team in the future. Beyond that I’m still looking at other options for next season, but it’s definitely going to be another exciting one!”
Gilles Magnus said, “Although going one better and winning the championship would have been a great feeling, I’ve had time to move past that disappointment and focus on what looks set to be an exciting 2018. There are plenty of avenues to explore so we’ll see what happens. Many thanks to the RACB and the NEC for inviting me to be part of such a fantastic evening here in Brussels.”
Bartek Mirecki said, “It’s great to be here, and I’m very proud of everything we’ve achieved as a team in the Formula Renault NEC this season. Hopefully I’ll be back for a few events next year and we can try and move even higher up the standings, and with my successful BM Motorsport outfit back home I’ve certainly got a lot to keep me busy next season!”