Connor Clifford crowned 2024 Motorsport UK Academy Young Driver of the Year

Wednesday 10 July 2024

MSVT Mazda MX5 Miata Trophy  competitor Connor Clifford has been named Motorsport UK Academy 2024 Young Driver of the Year, having impressed against tough competition at the iZone Driver Performance shootout finale. 

Each year, standout second-year Motorsport UK Academy Enhanced DiSE students are shortlisted for the award, which recognises sporting excellence as well as academic performance, attainment, effort and overall engagement. 

Five drivers made the cut this year, with Seb Hopkins, Loui Hounsell, Ronnie Smithand Sid Smithcompeting against winner Clifford on the day. 

The shootout involved a series of physical fitness tests to check muscular endurance and max VO2 levels, driving skill assessments on Silverstone-based iZone’s three state-of-the art GT and single-seater simulators to test race runs and vision on both known and unknown tracks, in addition to undergoing panel interviews and presenting on their own experiences gained during the Motorsport UK Academy Enhanced DiSE Programme, drawing on their own career goals and aspirations. 

Motorsport UK would like to thank the entire iZone Driver Performance team and Chris McCarthy for their extensive time and support with the award. 

Katie Baldwin, Head of Competitor Development, Motorsport UK comments, “The Young Driver of the Year award is a test of all round performance – from demonstration of technical skill, dealing with pressure, adaptability, physical potential and presentation skills. Ultimately, everything that is needed to become a well-rounded and successful driver.  Congratulations to Connor who embodied all of these things and was the unanimous winner of this year’s award. 

“Congratulations also to the shortlisted drivers for their efforts – everyone demonstrated great skill and promise, making it a competitive showcase of young talent.” 

Connor Clifford, 2024 Motorsport UK Academy Young Driver of the Year: 

“Winning this award is a huge achievement for myself and a decent boost to my career so far. It’s a testament to my continued work off track to develop as a driver. Thank you to Motorsport UK and the Academy for this opportunity and I look forward to working with them in the future.” 

Clifford, who placed fifth MSVT Mazda MX5 Miata Trophy championship standings, will now receive a bespoke driver development programme with Motorsport UK Academy partner iZone, and will be awarded the official Trophy at the Motorsport UK Night of Champions in January 2025.