Twelve months ago, motor racing lost one of its brightest talents when top Porsche star Sean Edwards was tragically killed at the Queensland Raceway in Australia.
The Briton was on course to win the Porsche Super Cup title, and had been linked to a promotion to one of the Porsche line-ups in the World Endurance Championship.
Now one year later, the foundation set up in his honour has announced a raft of initiatives that should be implemented to improve driver and circuit safety.
The Sean Edwards Foundation aim to improve safety at both national and international levels, and will be lobbying to bring the changes so that the consequences upon which the charity was founded will not happen again.
“For obvious reasons this is an incredibly important day for the foundation, but simply marking the anniversary of Sean’s passing isn’t what we’re trying to achieve,” said Daphne McKinley, Sean’s mother and the Founder/Chairman of SEF. “From personal experience, and subsequently speaking to a number of people within the industry, it’s become clear that much more should be done to educate drivers about the risks they face and also make positive changes to the industry as a whole.
“Sean was as critical as anyone on the subject of safety when coaching, but he still paid the ultimate sacrifice. I know that a lot of drivers feel the same way but it will take all stakeholders – circuits, promoters, organisers, manufacturers and governing bodies – pulling in the same direction if we’re to achieve real change. Hopefully SEF’s work will be the catalyst.”
Three key initiatives have been suggested, with the aim of educating and improving drivers competing at all levels of international motorsport. Initially, the attention of SEF will focus on the Sean Edwards Test, Fast Track, and Accident Support.
The Sean Edwards Test (SET) aims to address the lack of a safety awareness course or test, and SEF believe that such a test will assist in educating youngsters, amateurs and gentleman drivers about the ‘importance of upholding personal safety when racing’.
The SET will see drivers:
- Run a simulation session
- Receive assistance from professional racing driver coaches
- Look through real case histories
- Spend some time on track
- Run through genuine onboard video simulations.
Once the SET has been completed, then and only then SEF believe a racing licence should be awarded. It is also helped that passing the SET should lower insurance premiums.
One of Edwards’ passions was mentoring aspiring racing drivers, and the introduction of ‘Fast Track’ will be an extension of this legacy, and will combine speed with safety as drivers pursue success in motorsport.
SEF will aim to seek drivers who may be overlooked by existing mentorship programmes, and research will help identify the key attributes SEF are searching for and upon those attributes will drivers be chosen to join the scheme.
It is hoped that a driver who shows the desired attitude, talent and attributes will be award the Sean Edwards Memorial Trophy.
The final initiative being lobbied is Accident Support. The aim is to link SEF with key sports universities to help develop rehabilitation centres dedicated to assisting injured racing drivers post-accident. The foundation will act as a ‘coordinator and facilitator in helping drivers manage physical injuries, psychological implications and financial issues’.
Future initiatives being considered include the banning of open-faced helmets and non-compliant passenger seats, a safety cell campaign and insurance lobbying.
Should anyone wish to mark the anniversary of Sean Edwards’ passing, please join in with #Jump4SEF and post a picture on Twitter or Instagram of yourself jumping alongside the hashtag and @SeanEdwardsF. Edwards was renowned for leaping on the podium after every victory, and as such holds special significance to SEF.