F1 Paddock Pass is pleased to be able to support the Sean Edwards Foundation. We’ve always been a strong advocate of safety in motorsport and are pleased to have Paul Sutcliffe, Press Officer for the SEF join us as a contributor. We would ask you to read this article and spread the word about the SEF by following them on Twitter.
Sean Lawrence Guy Edwards was born on the 6th Dec 1986, he lived in Monaco and started his race career in karting at the age of 11. Sean progressed through British Formula Ford in 2003, and then went on to race in Formula Renault UK in 2004 and British GT in 2005. As his career progressed, Sean went on to race in FIA GT3, Euro Championship and the Porsche Super Cup, winning an amazing 8 times. He took pole position 6 times and recorded 7 fastest laps.
In 2013 Sean won the Nurburgring 24 hr race, his first major victory in Endurance racing, driving a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 with Bernd Schneider, Jeron Bleekemolen and Nicki Thim, he also went on to win impressive back-to-back Dubai 24h wins, and was on the cusp of taking the Porsche Supercup championship in 2013, having been Vice Champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany in 2011 and 2012. His exceptional ability on the track earned him accolades and praise—but it was his integrity and comradery off it that won him the respect and admiration of his peers. Sean loved racing for its own sake and was generous in sharing his experience and insight with fellow drivers. It’s the combination of these traits that made Sean such a popular and admired person in the motor racing world. Sean also appeared in the movie RUSH in which he played the part of his own father, Guy Edwards, who, with others, pulled Nicki Lauda to safety from the burning wreckage of his F1 car in the 1976 German GP.
The Sean Edwards Foundation was born out of tragedy. Sean was killed in Australia on October 15, 2013. He was coaching a rookie driver from the passenger seat when the car left the track and hit a concrete wall. Sean was just 26 years old. SEF was established by his mother Daphne McKinley Edwards the hope is that his sacrifice will be a catalyst to improve safety conditions and awareness in all levels of motorsport, through this SEF has 2 major initiatives (SET) Sean Edwards Test and Insurance Lobbying.
The Sean Edwards Test (SET) is a short test in the form of multiple choice questions, which can be completed on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone with internet access, it is given to drivers prior to races, to assess their understanding of the rules of the track, flag signals, track markings, safety car procedures etc., It was developed in collaboration with the SRO organisation, designed to account for the increasingly global nature of motorsport competition. There is no standardized process for obtaining an international licence and any given field of drivers can have dozens of nationalities represented. With pre-race briefings usually conducted in English it is difficult to know if participants are able to follow along, with this in mind SET was piloted at all SRO GT series races in 2015 and received positive feedback by race directors, organisers and marshals. Over 450 drivers took the test, again with positive feedback; the test will hopefully improve driver safety standards and therefore lead to fewer incidents/accidents on circuit. In 2016 SEF expanded the test to other championships and is now being undertaken in the Blancpain Asia Series, Intercontinental Endurance Cup, (Bathurst 12 Hours, 24 hours of Spa, Dubai 24 Hours) British GT series, LMP Cup, GT Cup and the BRDC F3 series, with the hope of more series to follow in 2018.
Lobbying Insurance focuses on partnerships with key insurance providers, the Sean Edwards Foundation is developing a framework that rewards drivers, teams and tracks with reduced premiums for implementing industry-leading safety measures. Areas that are being looked into include on-demand medical information, closed face helmet requirements, best-in-class passenger seats, head-restraint provision, safety-cell installation and track inspection and standards protocols.
Along with the initiatives SEF also has a number driver ambassadors, these are committed volunteers in helping the foundation to amplify its message, raise funds, promote safety initiatives and awareness, these range across all types of motorsport from karting up to FIA GT racing, such names as Le Mans winners Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley, Andy Priaulx along with his son Seb Priaulx plus Maro Engel, Gianmaria Bruni, Bruno Senna, Dan Amish, Lewis Plato, Benny Simonise and many others, supporters of SEF include ex F1 drivers David Coulthard, Jenson Button and legendary team owner Eddie Jordan, they all try and come together in Monaco the week before the Monaco Grand Prix and hold the SEF Memorial Bike Ride, Sean rode with Jenson, DC and Eddie Jordan plus others around Monaco for training purposes and when Sean lost his life the drivers carried this legacy on within the bike ride, once a year, bringing everyone together to remember Sean and help the foundation.
In motorsport the stakes can be tragically high but our mission is simple: We want drivers to live to race another day. Sean’s favourite quote taken from the film Le Mans “When you’re racing, it’s life. Anything that happens before or after, it’s just waiting.”
Article by Paul Sutcliffe – Press Officer for SEF.