Motorsport champion Mark Webber has been awarded an Order of Australia (AO) medal in the Australia Day honours list, recognising his international successes behind the wheel.
The annual honours system – signed off by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – has been in place since 1975 and is designed to both acknowledge outstanding contributions made to the country and identify national role models.
Webber was named, “For distinguished service to motor sport as a competitor and ambassador, and to the community through fundraising and patronage of a range of medical and youth support organisations.”
The Queanbeyan-born 40-year-old moved to the United Kingdom in 1995 in order to advance his motorsport career, driving in the International Formula 3000 series before making his debut in Formula One in 2002 – first with Minardi, then Jaguar in 2003 and 2004, Williams in 2005 and 2006, and Red Bull until his retirement from the series in 2013.
He has raced at the Le Mans 24 Hour five times, finishing second in a Porsche LMP1 vehicle in 2015, the same year he won the FIA World Endurance Championship for the brand. Webber now continues from his Buckinghamshire, UK, base as a Porsche ambassador.
Webber has also participated in numerous charity events, most notably starting in 2003 a 10-day trek across Tasmania to raise funds for children’s cancer research, in what became an annual fundraiser that saw numerous celebrities and sports stars participate.
Speaking with News Corp about the award, Webber said: “I didn’t expect it at all. It’s a bit of a surprise, but I think it’s an absolute honour to be recognised at that level.”
“It’s been a long-term run over here. I left a long time ago, and it’s been nice to fly the flag. You don’t look back too much … but I hope I represented Australia as best I could.”