NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ONTARIO (Oct. 24, 2008) — An eloquent story on the Le Mans car race has earned journalist Jeremy Cato the 2008 Julie Wilkinson Motorsports Award presented by Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. (BFCA). The prize, which comes with a $500 cheque, was awarded at last night’s annual dinner held by the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).
Cato’s winning story recounted a trip to the 24-hour Le Mans car race held every June in France. The story combines travelogue imagery with journalistic reportage on the multi-million dollar event. “Le Mans is one of those world-class prestigious races that almost no one pays attention to in Canada,” writes Cato. “In person, however, it is clearly one of the world’s great spectacles. The Americans have the Indy 500, but Europe has Le Mans.” Cato is a regular contributor to The Toronto Globe and Mail, Automotive Section.
Derek McNaughton was the runner-up in this year’s competition. He received a certificate of merit for two stories, detailing test drives of two high end designer cars, the Porsche GT3 and Nissan GT-R. McNaughton is National Editor, Driving, for Canwest Publications, and has worked covering motorsports at the Ottawa Citizen for several years.
The 2008 writing competition drew a wide range of submissions from automotive writers from across Canada. The subjects of stories ranged fromracing motorcycles on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, to a profile of paraplegic rally driver Jody Zedril. Some legendary places were visited like the fabled Daytona International Speedway as well as test drives of new products, the new trend of “drifting” or basically skidding around a track, were also covered with detailed accounts.
“The passion for driving is what shines through in all these articles,” said Jim Schmidt, General Manager, Consumer Replacement Tires for BFCA. “This contest is a way for Bridgestone Firestone Canada to showcase top quality motorsports journalism across Canada, and I am proud to see how many people across this great country share our devotion to the road.”
The Julie Wilkinson Motorsports Award, which BFCA has sponsored since its inception in 1999, is presented annually in memory of Julie Wilkinson, the Vancouver Croft House School graduate who undertook a distinguished career as a driver in several series and, later, as an automotive journalist who traveled internationally writing about motorsports.
The submissions were judged by Sid Priddle, Motorsport Event Specialist, Scott McCloy, Director of Communications for WorkSafeBC and René Fagnan, Motorsport Desk Editor of an automotive website. Stories were evaluated according to four criteria: its success at educating, entertainment value, passion imparted and writing style.
Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. (BFCA)
Mississauga, Ontario-based Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. (BFCA) is an affiliate of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT). BFCA and Nashville, Tenn.-based BFNT are subsidiaries of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. BFCA and BFNT develop, manufacture and market Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires. They are focused on wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off the road, agricultural and other tires to their customers in Canada and the United States, respectively. In addition, through their industry-leading Bandag brand, BFCA and BFNT develop, manufacture, market and sell retreading materials and equipment.