The day has been so much fun and I have loved every minute of itBrian Lee - Driver of the Year 2012

At insurethebox we are passionate about safe driving. We offer Bonus Miles to all our customers to encourage them to drive safely and we work hard to reward our best drivers.

Each year we hold a competition to find the insurethebox Driver of the Year. Using customers’ Bonus Miles we look to see who are the safest drivers. And then we invite them to Rockingham, one of Europe’s best racing circuits for a great day out! Yes fast cars might sound more boy racer than reliable insurance company but the focus of the day is on safe driving and our Winners learn skills that could be lifesavers.

First off, the Winners are split into three teams – Ferrari, Lotus and Jaguar, and they are introduced to their experienced driving instructors, the human equivalent of the black box with instant feedback! Their advice is eagerly sought as our drivers approach their cars.

They begin with the skid zone where a specially constructed car unexpectedly slides away from you and you try to catch it just in time. Some of the tyre screeching seems more typical of Top Gear than safe driving but the skills learnt are real, as Winners discover their reaction times and learn how to bring the car back under control.

In the Wet Grip area a kick-plate fires our Winners off-line onto a polished surface, so smooth it’s like ice, and water walls test their car control skills. Much of the reaction is instinctive but the tuition is invaluable and the experience lodged in the memory just in case it is ever needed for real.

Back to the track, it is time to try out the V8 Supercar. Once more seated with their expert instructors alongside, our deserving Winners can test their skills in a very different way.

Next up: the Formula Ford open-wheel single seaters. This steps it up a gear even compared to the V8 as the Winners are given overalls as well as a helmet to wear and approach the cars with a mixture of trepidation and awe.

The cars set off slowly at first, following the lead car, learning the racing lines, gaining confidence, and then as the technique develops, the speed picks up and they experience the exhilaration of driving a racing car designed purely for the track.

The fourth session is the highlight for most: finally it’s time to take a spin in the Ferrari and Aston Martin. As expected, our Winners truly give James Bond a run for his money.

Finally it’s the turn of the Dark Horse of Rockingham – the Abarth 500. These little speed demons have an incredible hold on the track and it’s in this session that our Winners really build up some speed!

The Instructors have been assessing our Winners’ driving skills throughout. Five Event Trophies, one Team Trophy and the overall Driver of the Year are up for grabs. Whilst the instructors are feeding back their findings, our Winners head back to the hospitality suite for Afternoon Tea with eager anticipation for the prizegiving.

The Awards are presented to the Winners by insurethebox Head of Creative Development Mark Shepherd to great applause and the delight of the drivers. There is just enough time for final congratulations and thankful applause to all the Racing School staff, before it is time to make our way safely home.

The winners:
• Kirsty Chappel from Oldham wins the Ferrari challenge.
• Jonathon Kerins from Chelmsford wins the V8 Supercar challenge.
• Phillip Cooper comes top in the wet grip section.
• Daniel Birik comes top in the Abarth 500 section.
• Daniel Robbins scoops top place in the Aston Martin section.
• Team Ferrari is the overall winning team
• Driver of the Year 2012 is Brian Lee from Manchester

Driver of the Year Brian said: “The day has been so much fun and I have loved every minute of it, to win this award has made the experience all the more memorable. I loved the experience of the Ferrari and what I really liked about the whole experience was that the emphasis was on safety rather than speed“.

More pictures on our Facebook and flickr.