Sixteen-year-old Southam driver Sedgwick faces a 24-hour test

Teenage driver Alex Sedgwick, right, is set to drive for UK Preptech at the Hakook 24H Dubai endurance race.
Teenage driver Alex Sedgwick, right, is set to drive for UK Preptech at the Hakook 24H Dubai endurance race.

Southam’s Alex Sedgwick will be the youngest driver on the grid when he lines up for the 11th Hankook 24H Dubai endurance race on Friday January 15.

Sedgwick, who, at 16 years of age, is still too young to drive on UK roads, has signed to drive for the UK Preptech race team in the FIA International Endurance Series.

The series consists of four 24-hour, and three 12-hour races held around the world, starting at the Dubai Autodrome Grand Prix Circuit.

The series attracts drivers from all around the world and includes factory teams and professional drivers.

A total of 100 cars will line up at the start, nearly twice the number contesting the legendary Le Mans 24 Hour race, and nearly 500 drivers will contest the race.

“Racing in my first 24 hour race along side professional drivers and factory teams is amazing and a wonderful start to 2016,” said Sedgwick.

“My dream is one day to race in the Le Mans 24 Hour race and this is a great start to, hopefully, realising my dream.

“I have already contested a 24-hour kart race so have some idea of what will be ahead of me.

“The Dubai race is unique in that over half the race will be in the dark, a new challenge for me.

“I will be racing a Clio Cup Car again so I have some knowledge of the car from racing in the UK Renault Clio Cup last year.”

Sedgwick, who started racing when he was eight years old, will race alongside Preptech’s other drivers, Andy Mollison, Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and Australian Cody Hill, in the team’s 240 bhp Renault Clio Cup car specially modified for endurance racing.

Each driver can only drive for a maximum of two hours in one go so each driver will drive for a total of six hours over the 24-hour race.

Sedgwick has been handed his chance after one of Preptech’s regular drivers had to pull out.

However, Preptech UK’s owner and team manager Oliver Barnard has no concerns about throwing the rookie in at the deep end.

“Obviously losing a team driver, outside of your control, so close to an event is never ideal.

“We have been communicating with Alex during 2015 regarding some 2016 events, but to have him join us in Dubai is fantastic for him and also for us as a team.

“Dubai is one of, if not the toughest of all the 24-hour events around the world, and we are aware that this is only our second event but confidence is high.

“Alex will slot in perfectly with our existing young and fast driver line-up.

Our expectations have grown following a fantastic first event for us in Barcelona last year.

“We are proud to have such a great team, all working for success, hopefully luck helps us out a little too.”

The race starts at 2pm on Friday and finishes on Saturday with the winning car expected to complete more than 2000 miles.