Dubai, UAE, 11 August 2020: Alex Connor, a Dubai Kartdrome protégé, began his 2020 F4 British Championship campaign in the best way possible, powering from P5 on the grid to claim victory in the opening round at Donington Park (1 August 2020).
Connor remarked, “It was just a good drive, from fifth to first. Last year was my first race here, so to improve on that was really good.”
Connor and his race engineer Piers Pakenham-Walsh, also a former Dubai karting ace, then went on to Brands Hatch to grab a pair of podium finishes for Arden Motorsport (8-9 August 2020). Alex is currently third in the 2020 F4 British Championship driver standings.
Connor and Pakenham-Walsh are the latest apprentices hailing from Dubai to make an impact on the larger stage of international motorsport, following in the footsteps of other champions like Jamie Day (WSK Super Master Series, Kartmasters British Grand Prix), Ed Jones (Indy Lights, IndyCar) and young Emirati superstar Rashid Al Dhaheri (WSK Super Master Series, WSK Euro Series).
Alex Connor was born in Dubai in 2004, the same year Dubai Autodrome and Dubai Kartdrome were inaugurated as centrepiece attractions in MotorCity. By 2015, Connor was starting to make an impact on the local karting scene, finishing second in the UAE MicroMax Championship and winning his first championship trophy in the UAE IAME X30 Junior Championship.
He was a regular winner in the local Sodi World Series (SWS) sprint races and even claimed a podium finish in the SWS Junior Cup Finals (3rd, 2016) at Racing Kart de Cormeilles (RKC) near Paris, France.
In 2017 Connor was selected by Young Racing Drivers Academy (YRDA) to join their F4 Driver Development Program, and in 2019 he began to race British F4 in earnest, claiming second place in the Rookie Cup for that year.
The young British driver still carries the spirit of Dubai with him to face the new challenges overseas. He said, “From a personal point of view, Dubai has been an amazing place in which to grow up as it teaches you that no goal is unachievable.”
“Racing is ultimately against myself and I will keep doing so until I reach the top – Formula 1”, Connor added.
Alex’s race engineer from Dubai, Piers Pakenham-Walsh, also has an impressive karting record, with plenty of race experience to help guide Arden Motorsport to more victories.
Piers began kart racing in the UK but after moving to Dubai 2008, he was soon winning titles, including DAMC Junior Champion (2009/10), DD2 Champion (2013/14, 2014/15) and SWS World Endurance Champion (with CG Pro, 2016).
Turning his passion into an academic pursuit, Piers earned a Motorsports Engineering Degree from Oxford Brookes University and during his third year as a student he was apprenticing in the Gearbox/Transmission Testing Team for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, for the F1 cars of Max Verstappen and Daniel Riccardo.
In 2020 Pakenham-Walsh secured a spot with Arden Motorsport as Connor’s race engineer, and the two kart racers from Dubai are now well-prepared to make a successful challenge of the 2020 F4 British Championship.
Dubai Kartdrome Manager David Bright said, “It’s been very rewarding to see these two young drivers start their karting journeys here at Dubai Kartdrome, become local karting champions and then move onto bigger things and succeed at a high level, both behind the wheel and on the engineering front.”
“Alex and Piers are true testaments to hardwork and dedication, whilst chasing your dreams! I wish them all the success in the future and look forward to seeing them back here for SWS soon.” added Bright.
Next British F4 Rounds (7-9): 22-23 August 2020 at Oulton Park, UK
Report: Aaron Meriwether
Photos: Arden Motorsport