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Franchitti family race off with Jim Clark award 

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IT was very much a family affair at one of Scotland’s top annual motoring awards nights earlier this month.

And the recipients were no strangers to lifting trophies as George Franchitti and sons Dario and Marino shared the honour.

One of Scotland’s most famous names in motor-sport, the Franchitti family, were voted joint winners of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers’ 2017 Ford-supported Jim Clark Memo-rial Award.

The family of flying Scotsmen, from Bathgate, West Lothian, were presented with the accolade in recognition of their longs-tanding involvement and success in motorsport as well as the inspiration they provide and example they set to a new generation of aspiring racing drivers.

The award was collected by dad George Franchitti at a presentation evening also attended by wife Marina and the brothers’ sister Carla MacFarlane.

Presenting the accolade, Stephen Park, president of the ASMW, said: “The Franchitti name is one which has a global association with success and professionalism, both on and off the track.

“It’s extremely appropria-te that both father and sons together receive the 2017 Jim Clark Memorial Award as it was George’s involvement in motor racing which proved infectious for both Dario and Marino.

“Throughout their careers, the brothers have demonstrated ability and commit-ment across a large number of different race series, both at home and internationally.

“However it’s also impor-tant to recognise the women in the family, namely Marina and Carla, who have consis-tently been at the side of George, Dario and Marino offering unstinting encou-ragement and support.”

Collecting the award, George Franchitti said: “Jim Clark was my hero when I was a young man, he was both a world beating driver at the very top of motor racing and a gentleman.

“To receive this award in his name is a matter of great surprise and pride to me.

“I have been involved in motor racing throughout my life and was happy to encourage both Dario and Marino to take part and enjoy themselves.

“We have been so lucky that they both showed talent and were able to take advantage of some great opportunities and enjoy success around the world.

“Throughout this time, our family has always been proud of the way they have conducted themselves both on and off the track.

“Along with our pride in their success on the track, we’ve been equally pleased to hear from others that they have remained humble throughout their careers.”

Dario added: “Jim Clark is my hero so it’s a tremendous honour to receive the Jim Clark Award, and to do so alongside my brother and our dad makes it extra special.

“My earliest memories are watching my dad compete at Ingliston which started a lifelong passion for motorsport.

“My parents made huge sacrifices to support racing programmes for Marino and I, as did our sister Carla, so I’m delighted we can share this as a family. Thank you to the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers for the award.”

And brother Marino said: “To be given this award is such an honour, I couldn’t think of a way to improve on that, but receiving it with my Dad and brother makes it extra special.

“Our careers have always been a family effort, so I’d like to thank my wife Holly, my mum Marina and sister Carla as well for their selfless support, and sacrifi-ce over the years.

“To receive an award in Jim Clark’s name is incredible and I have to thank the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers for recog-nising our family.”

The Jim Clark Memorial Award is in memory of the Scot who, in a Lotus 49 at the Dutch Grand Prix in 1967, gave Ford its first ever Formula One win with the new Ford-Cosworth V8 Grand Prix engine.

Now in its fifth decade, myself and fellow members of the ASMW vote for a deserving Scot to receive the annual award.

Previous winners include motorsport legends Sir Jackie Stewart, Allan McNish, David Coulthard, Louise Aitken-Walker, Colin McRae and world land speed record breaker, Richard Noble OBE.

The award evening was also attended by a previous recipient of the accolade, author Eric Dymock, who has recently released an updated version of his book ‘Jim Clark’.

A royalty from every sale will go to the Jim Clark Trust in its bid to build a new museum dedicated to the memory of the racing legend.