Motorsport Ireland today announced details of an overhaul of the Dunlop Sexton Trophy for the Young Racing Driver of the Year, which will see an Irish driver funded to compete for a full racing season from 2013.

The award, which was established in 2000 to reward excellence in young Irish racing, was a contribution of €50,000 to the winner to help them compete the following season.

The 2012 winner of the Dunlop Sexton Trophy will now receive a full season of racing in Formula Ford culminating in the World Cup at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone in 2013.

The car, which will be provided by Motorsport Ireland with backing from Dunlop and the Irish Sports Council, will be run by professional racing team Bernard Dolan Racing. The winner will also be mentored for the year by Mick Merrigan, a name synonymous with Formula Ford and the management of young drivers.

Merrigan sees this as a big boost to racing in Ireland; “I feel that the change in the rules for this award will encourage more young Irish drivers to compete in a variety of racing classes. Hence, it will improve the grids across Motorsport Ireland’s Championships for 2012.

“I would like to commend Motorsport Ireland, Dunlop and the Irish Sports Council for this amazing award which hopefully will help a young Irish driver advance his career in international motorsport.”

The winner, who must be under 23 and competing nationally, will be chosen from the six drivers selected as the Dunlop Sexton Young Racing Driver of the Month from April through to September. The top three will then be announced prior to the Dunlop Motorsport Ireland Awards for 2012 with the winner announced on the day.

Alex Sinclair, chief executive of Motorsport Ireland, said; “Racing in Ireland has been suffering over the last few years due to the recession and the financial difficulties facing everyone. This is an opportune time to refocus attention on the home racing scene and give one talented young racing driver a great chance to succeed in 2013.”