TEENAGER Alex Sedgwick admits racing in the 2016 Dubai 24-hour race is a moment that will live with him forever.
The 16-year-old was one third of Preptech’s Renaultsport Clio team that took to the 5.399km long Dubai Autodrome track last Friday and 24-hours later claimed an impressive sixth-place finish.
A total of 98 cars took part in the race, which is part of the FIA International Endurance series, but Sedgwick and his team coped well with the heat and darkness.
Sedgwick created history by becoming the youngest driver on the grid and the Southam teenager admits he was tested both physically and mentally.
“Taking part in the Dubai 24 Hours and finishing my first 24-hour race has been something I will never forget,” said Sedgwick.
“It is like no race I had done before. You have to drive at your maximum for up to two hours, deal with many different issues on the track and keep repeating this during 24 hours.
“Sitting on the starting grid with the other 98 cars was something I will remember forever. The sound of all the cars as we all started the race was amazing.
“The race was very challenging, as you have to race hard but also deal with the different speeds of all the other cars.
“Racing at night was different. The reduced visibility is yet another obstacle to overcome but also fun.
Team mate Alex Hill had qualified the team in fifth place in their A2 class and 88th overall after out qualifying some much more powerful cars from other classes.
Despite starting alongside faster cars that would be a challenge for any racing driver, Sedgwick demonstrated he is a match for even the most experienced professional drivers as the field of cars jostled for positions.
He stayed in the car for two hours before handing over to teammate Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and as the race reached the four-hour point, another challenge came as the circuit fell into darkness for the next 12 hours.
It was a new challenge for Sedgwick who had never raced in the dark before but after coming back in for a two-hour stint, he was soon beating other more experienced drivers.
As the clock struck midnight drive was over and it was back to the garage to grab some sleep before he would be back in the car in six hours time at 6am with eight hours of the race remaining.
A faulty electronic control unit as well as both a battery and alternator changed forced the team drop down to tenth in the class, 40 seconds behind the next car.
With less than an hour of the race remaining, Sedgwick returned to finish the race and some excellent overtaking manoeuvres saw him chase down his rivals and secure seventh spot at the chequered flag.
“My final stint with 30 minutes to go was like the racing I am used to, and I gave it everything I could to catch the other to cars so I could pay back the rest of the team for all their hard work,” Sedgwick added.
“Crossing the line seventh in class and 55th overall was as good as a win. We did in a way win, as we beat all the challenges presented to us and finished our first FIA Dubai 24 hour race.”