Late in 2013 Sean Edwards was leading the Porsche Supercup by 18 points and, with one double-header remaining, appeared on course to take the title. During the break between the final two meetings, at Monza and Yas Marina, he travelled to Australia to do some driver coaching. On October 15, he died at Willowbank Raceway, Queensland, when the Porsche in which he was a passenger left the track. He was just 26.
Since then, his mother Daphne McKinley Edwards has set up the Sean Edwards Foundation to help improve circuit safety – and at the Hall of Fame she spoke passionately about her objectives.
“It is very difficult to stand here and talk about my son Sean in the past,” she said, after watching a short film showing highlights of a career that included 24-hour race victories at Dubai Autodrome and the Nürburgring. “In the video he said, ‘It’s a great life’ – and motor racing is a fantastic life, until it’s taken away from you. I want to see change – change in attitudes towards motor sport safety.
“The SEF was born 18 months ago, since when I’ve been building awareness about safety and I believe education is key. I have developed a test that helps drivers, both amateurs and pros, when it comes to protocol in both the pitlane and on the track.
I developed this in 2015 with [race promoter] the Stéphane Ratel Organisation and it is now mandatory for drivers in their Blancpain series to pass the test before they can take part. I’d like to introduce that in more championships worldwide. The test can also be applied to many other areas – particularly to track days, during one of which Sean was killed. I also spent three days on a marshalling course and would like to implement a global training programme.
“Let’s honour Sean and every other racing driver that has died. I want to examine the risks and mitigate them. Let’s make motor sport a safer place.”