At the end of an impressive campaign in the FIA RX2e Championship – the first-ever FIA electric rallycross championship – Patrick O’Donovan has been named the 2021 Motorsport UK Academy Young Driver of the Year.
O’Donovan was one of five drivers in contention for the coveted award – bestowed by British motorsport’s governing body in conjunction with iZone Driver Performance and Loughborough College – with each of them put through their paces in a variety of competitive tasks.
These comprised an assessment of their technical and tactical knowledge, as well as a Q&A around their careers and future plans. The high-calibre quintet were subsequently subjected to fitness and strength tests, and evaluations on the iZone simulator – including their ability to deal with distractions, their diversity across disciplines and circuits and their readiness to take on, apply and give feedback.
O’Donovan was chosen as the winner after a lengthy deliberation, and his prize is a driver development programme with iZone. The 17-year-old finished fourth in the RX2e standings in 2021, narrowly missing out on a top three overall spot after last month’s Nürburgring season finale – but unquestionably turning heads with his raw speed and fearless racecraft along the way.
“It’s truly amazing to be announced as the Motorsport UK Young Driver of the Year,” he enthused. “I can’t quite believe it, to be honest! I’ve worked really hard to step up a level this year in my performances, but there are so many talented young drivers around. It was a tough day at iZone for the finals with a lot of other competitive drivers, and I’m so happy to win.”
“On behalf of the Academy, huge congratulations to Patrick for being selected as this season’s Young Driver of the Year,” added Motorsport UK’s Competitors Pathway Manager, Katie Baldwin. “The standard of the competition continues to rise year upon year, and it was certainly no easy feat to pick a winner from the five outstanding candidates; they each did themselves proud.”