Patrick O’Donovan crowned 2021 Motorsport UK Academy Young Driver of the Year
Patrick O’Donovan has been named the 2021 Motorsport UK Academy Young Driver of the Year after a hard-fought final at iZone Driver Performance on Friday (10 December).
The award, delivered in collaboration between the Academy, iZone and Loughborough College, is contested between five second-year drivers enrolled on the performance pathway’s DiSE programme.
This year’s finalists – RX150 British Rallycross champion O’Donovan, MINI Challenge racer Tom Ovenden, Britcar Trophy’s James Black, GTC South European champion Jemma Moore and Ginetta GT4 Supercup vice-champion Josh Rattican – were put through their paces in a variety of competitive tasks before the judging panel.
This included a remote assessment featuring a presentation on their involvement in the DiSE programme and its application in their future careers, an assessment of their technical and tactical knowledge with Academy coaches, as well as a Q&A around their careers and future plans for the 2022 season and beyond.
At iZone, the finalists were then subjected to fitness and strength tests, assessments on the simulator – including their ability to deal with distractions, their diversity across disciplines and circuits and their readiness to take on, apply and give feedback in return.
O’Donovan was selected as the winner after a lengthy deliberation between the panel, and as a result wins a driver development programme with iZone, an invitation to the Night of Champions, a place on the judging panel for next season’s competition, as well as a trophy.
“It’s truly amazing to be announced as the Motorsport UK Young Driver of the Year,” said O’Donovan.
“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 in Silverstone for the finals with a lot of other competitive drivers and I’m so happy to win this award.
“I’d like to thank everyone from iZone and the Motorsport UK Academy for all that they have done and continue to do, and everyone that has supported me this year.”
“On behalf of the Academy, a 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 these five outstanding candidates; they each did themselves proud, and it’s great to see how far they’ve progressed as athletes as a result of their time enrolled in the DiSE programme.
“As with all our graduates, we look forward to seeing how they continue to progress and flourish within the sport in the future.”