Jules Szymkowiak has been awarded the inaugural Sean Edwards Trophy, established in the name of the late British driver to recognize up-and-coming GT racing talent.
The 21-year-old Dutchman, who finished fourth in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup standings in a HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3, beat out Luca Stolz and Dries Vanthoor for the honor, which was announced during last weekend’s SRO Motorsport Group’s end-of-year prize-giving ceremony in London.
Szymkowiak teamed with Bernd Schneider, a former co-driver of Edwards, for the 2016 Blancpain GT campaign, which was highlighted by victory in the Qualifying Race at Brands Hatch.
“This is completely unexpected, I am a bit speechless, I must admit,” Szymkowiak said. “It is a massive honor to receive this trophy.
“I think it is the result of all the hard work we have put in this year. It has not been an easy season, with some ups-and-downs.
“But driving with Bernd Schneider was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I think I got the most out of it. This Sean Edwards Trophy will certainly help me to set the next step in my career.”
The award, for drivers aged 21 or under, has been designed to give a career boost similar to the one Edwards received when he became the inaugural champion of the FIA GT3 European Championship in 2006 at the age of 20.
Edwards was killed in a coaching accident in Australia in 2013.
Champions in all SRO-run European championships were crowned Saturday evening, under the backdrop of the Tower of London, including overall Blancpain GT Champions Maxi Buhk and Dominik Baumann.
Garage 59’s Rob Bell, Come Ledogar and Shane van Gisbergen, meanwhile, won the Endurance Cup Drivers’ title, with Enzo Ide, of Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, picking up the Sprint Cup title.