Sean Edwards was the first FIA GT3 European Champion, and as such he won a prize which allowed him to take his career to the next level. The aim of this new Trophy is to give another driver a similar opportunity, both in terms of recognition and a prize-fund including 20 sets of Pirelli tyres, to be used during the 2017 season of the Blancpain GT Series. The winner will also receive a voucher from First Luggage, and a Lalique trophy.
The Sean Edwards Trophy will be awarded to a driver aged under 21 at the start of the 2016 season, with experience of both sprint and endurance racing during the season, and who has shown, as well as his speed and skills, the same spirit as Sean.
The three drivers, all extremely honoured to be nominated for this award, spoke of their 2016 season :
Dries Vanthoor (Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8): “Being a driver at Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is not always easy, but it has its advantages as well. I had a difficult start of the season, but with the help of everybody in the team – especially my brother Laurens – I managed to learn the ropes rather quickly. I think I can say that I showed that I have the necessary speed. In the next season, my aim is to improve even more, get one or two more steps up the ladder, and then we’ll see where that can bring me.”
Jules Szymkowiak (HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG): “The main difference between 2016 and 2015 was a better mental preparation. I learned how to focus on racing, and racing alone. That produced some great results, although I feel I could have had a better end to the season. For next year, I will try to improve my consistency, lose the sharp edges, and have a go at the title. I am fully convinced it is within my grasp.”
Luca Stolz (GRT Grasser Motorsport Lamborghini): “For me, the Blancpain GT Series is the toughest GT3 series in the world. If you can prove yourself here, you are ready for everything! My fondest memory of the year was definitely the pole position at the Endurance round at the Nürburgring. There were really difficult conditions, but the team and I were spot on. For 2017, my goal is to achieve even more than in the past year. We had some high and lows, and if I can avoid the lows, it will be a pretty good season.”
“The aim of the Sean Edwards Trophy is to help boost young International GT talent in order for them to get to the next level,” explained Daphne McKinley, who set up the Sean Edwards Foundation following her son’s tragic death three years ago. “This under 21-year Award is close to my heart and is of special significance to me as Sean’s international career was launched when he won the FIA GT3 Championship at 19 years old. It is my hope that this Trophy will give a helping hand to the winner’s career, which I will be following with close interest.”
“We are delighted to take another step in our collaboration with the Sean Edwards Foundation by presenting this award, » commented Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group. « A similar fund helped the career of a number of drivers in the FIA GT3 European Championship, some of whom have gone on to be counted among the top GT drivers, and we hope this will have a similar result.”
The winner of the 2016 Sean Edwards Trophy will be announced during the SRO annual Awards Ceremony, which will take place at the Pavillion of the Tower of London, on November 27th.