Friday 28 April 2017

Red-hot Daly on board to boost Status

Family affair: Former Grand Prix driver Derek Daly and his son, Conor, who is hoping to follow in his father's footsteps.
Family affair: Former Grand Prix driver Derek Daly and his son, Conor, who is hoping to follow in his father's footsteps.

Declan Quigley

Two of Ireland's top racers from the 1970s, David Kennedy and Derek Daly, join forces again next week when Daly's son Conor tests with the Status Grand Prix GP3 team co-owned and run by Kennedy.

After a stellar season in the US Star Mazda series -- during which he scored seven wins, nine pole positions and a total of 12 podium finishes on his way to a comprehensive championship success -- 18-year-old Daly is now hot property in the US but is looking further afield to develop his career.

He will test a GP3 car with Manor Motorsport in Estoril, Portugal, for two days this week before moving to Jerez next Wednesday for two days with Status, as teams evaluate drivers ahead of the second season of the already hugely popular Formula One support category.

Inaugural GP3 champion Esteban Gutierrez has been promoted to the Sauber F1 team on foot of his performances this year, while runner-up Robert Wickens, who raced with Status GP, is being evaluated by two F1 teams and is likely to test a F1 car this winter.

For Daly, the test programme represents an opportunity to spread his wings and try European racing on a full-time basis for the first time.

The Indiana-born racer is looking forward to the challenge.

"This is an important test for me as I will work directly with some outstanding European teams and I will get to compare myself directly with some of their proven talents," he said. "I want to learn and absorb as much as possible as we work through what might be the best move for my career."

Kennedy said that he has been monitoring Daly's progress for some time and has been in touch with his father for some time about organising a test.

"I first spoke to Derek about Conor last winter and I'm delighted that we'll have a chance to run him next week," Kennedy said.

"He's clearly got great potential and he's certainly ready to move to this series. And driving for Status GP, you could say, would be his natural home."

selection

Meanwhile at home, the performances of another Daly have been recognised by the selection committee of the Dunlop Driver of the Year award.

Meath racer Stephen Daly's recent drives in Formula Libre with his Tatuus Formula Renault have earned him the Dunlop Young Racing Driver of the Month award for September.

The 19-year-old from Dunshaughlin won the two-litre class and finished third overall in both of the Formula Libre races at the Leinster Trophy meeting at Mondello Park to secure the sixth and final Driver of the Month nomination.

He now joins the other five shortlisted drivers for the final interview process for the €50,000 Dunlop Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the Year award.

Irish Independent

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