Finalists announced for Young Racing Driver of the Year

November 17, 2012 by Paul Phelan  

The three finalists for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the Year have been announced.

The drivers who will go forward to the Motorsport Ireland Dunlop Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards on the 11th December are Jake Byrne, Stephen Daly and Kevin O’Hara, where one will receive the Dunlop Sexton Trophy for Young Racing Driver of the Year.

Jake Byrne was dominent in Ginetta Junior in 2012. Photo: Con Connolly

Jake Byrne was nominated for his performances in April. The 18 year-old from Naas had two wins on the Kirkistown circuit as part of the Ginetta Junior Championship during the month and went on to put in several more impressive performances in the Championship across the season.

Stephen Daly put on a very impressive display in his first taste of driving his father Dan's Reynard at Mondello Park. Photo: Marcin Lewandowski

The second finalist is Stephen Daly from Dunshaughlin in Meath. 22-year-old Daly had an excellent September where he won both of the Formula Libre races at the Leinster Trophy in Mondello Park along with setting the fastest lap time for both races in his Reynard car.

Kevin O'Hara was one of the leading Formula Vee drivers throughout 2012 and the first to dip below the magic minute

The final driver in the running for the award is Kevin O’Hara. O’Hara received his nomination as Driver of the Month for July after his performances at Mondello Park. The 22-year-old driver became the first Formula Vee driver to complete a lap in Mondello in under 1 minute while he also won the Formula Vee Festival this year.

The winner of the Dunlop Sexton Trophy for Young Racing Driver of the Year will receive a full season of racing Formula Ford culminating with the World Cup at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone in 2013. They will drive a car provided by Motorsport Ireland with backing from Dunlop and the Irish Sports Council and run by professional racing team Bernard Dolan Racing. They will also be mentored by Mick Merrigan for the year.

Some of the previous winners of the Dunlop Sexton Trophy include Peter Dempsey and Aron Smith, who won the award last year. Since then Smith has gone on to complete a full season in the British Touring Car Championship securing his first win in the Championship three weeks ago at the last event of the season in Brands Hatch.

The Motorsport Ireland Dunlop Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards will take place on Tuesday 11th December at the Hilton Hotel, Malahide, Dublin. For more information log on to

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