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Byrne is 2023 Young Racing Driver of the Year

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Wexford’s Jack Byrne was awarded the Sexton Trophy Young Racing Driver of the Year award at the recent Motorsport Ireland awards lunch in Dublin.

Byrne scooped the award along with the €50,000 bursary to become the first Wexford driver to win the Trophy since 1980.

The prestigious Sexton Trophy is the most coveted prize amongst young racing drivers, and having been shortlisted for the award for the third consecutive year, Byrne was honoured to be chosen from the current crop of talented young Irish racing drivers.

“I am unbelievably honoured to have won this award and for me it goes towards proving the power of hard work to achieve your goals. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Motorsport Ireland and Sport Ireland, my sponsors who have shown such confidence in me from early in my career and most especially my family for the sacrifices they have made to help me get to this high point in my career.”

Twenty year old Byrne from Ballinaboola has been racing in the UK for the last two seasons in the Vertu Motors MINI Challenge where he has had numerous race wins and podiums, winning the Rookie & Graduate Trophy in 2022 & 2023 respectively along with 3rd Overall in the championship this season. Most notably in June this year he fought back from 11th position to take a dramatic race win at Thruxton circuit in front of 70,000 track side spectators, with family and friends back home watching  it all live on ITV.

Byrne started racing in 2016 when he joined the Wexford Motor Club Youth Academy, winning the Junior category that year - he continues to be a mentor for the young students in the academy. He made his debut in the Junior Irish Rallycross Championship in 2017 going on to win the Junior title in 2018 & 2019 against the biggest grids seen for years in the Junior championship. Progressing to circuit racing in 2019, he took Best Newcomer in the Ginetta Junior Ireland championship before winning the title in 2020.

In 2021, Jack moved to the Fiesta ST championship in his first year of senior racing, and was immediately challenging for the title, enjoying race wins and podiums along with the Mondello International lap record, ultimately settling for second overall in his debut season in the series. In November of that year his team, Jack Byrne Motorsport, entered the annual Mondello Zetec Six Hour Endurance Race which is one of the highlights of the Irish racing calendar, attracting top drivers from across Ireland and the UK including many former racing champions and touring car drivers. Alongside his team mates William Kellett and Thomas O’Rourke they took the win in the teams first time of entering, topping off a very successful season and giving him the confidence to make the move to the UK for 2022.

Byrne has big ambitions for the future and his 2024 plans see him looking to Europe, where he hopes to race on some of the continent’s most iconic tracks including Spa, Monza and Hockenheim.

“Plans have already begun to race in Europe next season, which will be a massive challenge with a new car and all new tracks, but it’s where you need to be to get noticed. If I can get good results in Europe there is a chance of picking up an offer to race in GT4 which would be a massive step in my career, for now though I will concentrate on the next step and do everything I need to do to give me the best chance at realising my dreams.”

Byrne is sponsored by O’Brien Cement, David Byrne Auto Repairs, West Wales Rally Spares, Slaney View Motors and Murphy Cars.

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