MOTORACING: WHILE most teenagers will be dreading a return to college or work following the festive break, Southam’s Alex Sedgwick is preparing for the biggest race of his career so far in Dubai.
With 2017 just a few days old, Sedgwick will be swapping his school books for the driving wheel as he travels across the world to participate in the first major endurance race of year – The Dubai 24 Hours.
The seventeen-year-old will take a break from his A-levels at Southam College as he takes part in the 5.39km race on January 13-14, which this year takes place at the Dubai Autodrome Grand Prix Circuit, one of the most modern challenging circuits in the world.
It will be Sedgwick’s second go at The Dubai 24 Hours after competing last year where he was the youngest driver in the race at 16 and finished a very creditable seventh in his class in his first endurance race.
“Last year was a great experience racing alongside factory teams and professional racing drivers,” said Sedgwick.
“Starting the race with 94 cars on the grid was an experience I will never forget and I learnt so much before crossing the line after 24 hours of racing, finishing my first endurance race in seventh place.
“This year I will be aiming to get on the podium.”
This year Sedgwick will be racing with Team Cooksport who, after many years racing in the Renault UK Clio Cup, has decided to try their hand at international endurance racing.
Sedgwick will, however, be the only driver in the team to have raced at Dubai or completed a 24 Hours race which sees teams using a minimum of two drivers or a maximum of five drivers to contest the 24 hours of the race.
Team Cooksport will contest this year’s race with a total of five drivers who will race a specially built 250 bhp race version of Renault’s Renaultsport Clio road car.
Sedgwick will be joined by British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) driver Josh Cook, Renault UK Clio Cup drivers Jon Maybin and Shayne Deegan and Ollie Cook will race.
“A 24 Hour race is very different to a sprint race where a race can be won or lost in the first lap. In endurance racing it is important to be consistent and to spend as little time in the pits as possible.
“The name of the game is to protect the car, work as a team and push as hard as you can in the final hour for the win. Over the 24 hours you are continually racing with the other cars on the circuit, avoiding on-track incidents and, as a team, deciding when to swap drivers, tyres, top up fuel etc
“Then there is the night racing which will see the track plunged into total darkness for more than half of the race distance.”
The winning car last year completed 604 laps of the circuit, covering a total distance of 2,026 miles which is the equivalent of driving from Lands End to John O’ Groats (837 miles) just under two and a half times without a stop, all at an average speed of over 135 mph.
Having the opportunity to return to Dubai for a second time is the result of a lot of hard work for Sedgwick, who has had to raise the necessary budget to be able to fund his return in 2017.
He added: “Being a student studying for my A levels and without a full-time job has meant raising the necessary budget to race in Dubai again has been a real challenge.
“I have, however, been very fortunate this year to get some sponsorship support from Snap-on Business Services, which I am very thankful for. Also, It will be great having the well known Snap-on branding on the car.