MOTORSPORT IRELAND PROMOTES DEMPSEY
Photos: Brian Walsh, Jakob Ebrey, Sarah Fraser, kartpix.net
Jordan Dempsey will compete at a hat-trick of prestigious Formula Ford 1600 events this year after gaining the support of Motorsport Ireland.
Dempsey, 16, has been given the opportunity of racing the Motorsport Ireland-backed Van Diemen LA10 for this weekend’s Martin Donnelly Trophy at Kirkistown, the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone.
The car – run by Bernard Dolan – is traditionally entered for the winner of the annual Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year Award. However, this year’s winner Jake Byrne opted to leave the programme earlier this season and revert to using his own car.
Reigning Ginetta Junior Ireland champion Dempsey has been handed the opportunity instead, himself a two-time nominee for the award.
Dempsey comes from a racing family, with his father Morgan Jr a regular in FF1600 and his grand uncle Cliff Dempsey a prominent team owner. He has raced in the UK National FF1600 this year, taking a best finish of fourth at Donington Park.
Morgan Jr said: “Jordan was speechless when we got the offer. It’s a really special chance for him, but there’s no pressure on him for any of the events.
“This drive is a very different template for Jordan compared to the guys in the car before. He’s only just taking it on at the end of the year whereas previous drivers have had the full year and their programme peaks at the trophy events. It’s about learning for Jordan.
“It’s also good for him to go and race with Bernard and get out of the family environment as that’s how you grow as a driver. Getting out of your comfort zone pushes your limits.
“Jordan has a lot to learn. The chassis is a newer generation than he’s used to and he’s never driven Brands Hatch Indy or Silverstone National before. It’s a great opportunity.”
Motorsport Ireland has stated that Dempsey’s performance in the car will have no bearing on his chances for the 2017 Irish Young Driver prize.