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19 Jan 2022

Offaly teen destined for Formula 1 is youngest ever winner of big award

Offaly teen destined for Formula 1 is youngest ever winner of big award

Alex Dunne from Clonbullogue

Alex Dunne, from Clonbulloge, Co Offaly, has been named as the winner of the Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of The Year Award, becoming the youngest ever winner of the Sexton Trophy.

The 16-year-old track star beat off stiff competition from fellow finalists Jack Byrne, Max Hart and Jordan Kelly.

A prodigious karter having taken up the sport aged nine, this season saw Dunne make the step up to single-seaters where he drove in the Spanish and ADAC (German) F4 Championships.

His speed was evident straight away securing pole position and a podium finish on his opening race of the season at Spa Francorchamps. On his ADAC F4 debut at Hockenheim in September, Dunne took two debut second-place finishes and then claimed two pole positions on his return to the track a few weeks later. An impressive four rookie wins from six starts, as well as being the only rookie to have started from pole position and secured a fastest lap, have marked Dunne out as a serious F4 prospect.

For 2022, Dunne aims to build on his F4 progression by taking on the F4 United Arab Emirates Championship.

Alex Dunne, Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of The Year: “I’m delighted and honoured to win this award. We worked hard, and despite all the challenges that Covid-19 brought regards travel, we had a great year and I couldn't have wished for a better end to my debut season out of karting. We gained huge experience this year and I can't wait to build on that in 2022. The funding will be a big help to my budget but I am also to delighted to receive other forms of support from both Motorsport Ireland and Sport Ireland. I hope to repay their faith in me with more strong performances as I aim to progress up through the FIA Formulas."

Alex's season was supported by Harris Group, Maxus, VTL, Reynolds Logistics, Artisan Marble, PDS Associates and Xpress Health. 

Motorsport Ireland President John Naylor said: “The depth of talent among our young drivers is continuously growing and, alongside our partners in Sport Ireland, Motorsport Ireland is committed to supporting and developing drivers and providing them with every opportunity to succeed at the highest level. Alex is an exciting talent and I have no doubt he will represent Ireland with distinction as he progresses on his journey.”

The Young Driver of The Year award is supported by Motorsport Ireland and Sport Ireland. As part of the award, the winner will receive support to the value of €50,000 for the 2022 season. Alex, as the award winner, will also be included in the Motorsport Ireland Race Academy which is supported via the Team Ireland Foundation for the next two seasons while the other finalists will be included for one season.

The award itself, the Sexton Trophy, is named after Walter Sexton. He was the honorary secretary of the Royal Irish Automobile Club in the 1920s, as well as having been one of Ireland’s pioneer motorists. Walter was one of the chief organisers of the Irish Grand Prix which first ran in 1929.

After Walters death, it was decided that the winner of the Speed Championship, open to all Irish competition licence holders, would be awarded the Sexton Trophy. In recent years, the winner of the Young Racing Driver of The Year has been the recipient of the famous trophy.

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