Alex Dunne – Making waves in the Formula 4 World
Remember the name – Alex Dunne, from Clonbulloge, County Offaly, as the young motor-racing star charts his way to the top echelon of the sport – Formula 1. Recently, Alex was named as the winner of the 2021 Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of The Year Award. The sixteen-year-old beat off stiff competition from fellow finalists, to become the youngest ever winner of the Sexton Trophy.
Son of Formula Ford 1600 ace Noel, Alex is the third generation of his family to compete in Irish Motorsport. Having attended racing circuits from an early age with his Dad, he took to the sport and enjoyed the atmosphere. Soon, at the age of nine, he took up karting, competing in his first race at Athboy, County Meath. In 2015, having competed in Ireland and the UK, he won the IRL Plate, at Tynagh in Galway in June and went on to win the O Plate in Cork in September.
In 2016 he is competing in Super 1 and the LGM series in the UK as well as some Motorsport Ireland rounds in the Cadet class for 8-12 year olds. Further podium progress was made on circuits at home and abroad, with scores of wins and fastest laps recorded. In taking the next step to single-seaters his move to the Spanish and ADAC (German) F4 Championships, proved fruitful. His speed was evident and noticed straight away, securing pole position and a podium finish on his opening race of the season at the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. On his ADAC F4 debut at Hockenheim last September, Alex took two debut second place finishes and then claimed two pole positions on his return to the track a few weeks later. An impressive four rookie wins from six starts, as well as being the only rookie to have started from pole position and secured a fastest lap, have marked Alex Dunne out as a serious F4 prospect.
For 2022, Dunne has already built on his F4 progression by taking on the F4 United Arab Emirates Championship, where he recoded his maiden Formula-4 single seat victory! John McEvoy, Chief Operating Officer at the Harris Group (representing Alex’ main sponsor) congratulated Alex on this fine achievement: “Well done and congratulations to Alex, I have been keeping a close eye on Alex’s results and he has delivered impressive performances every weekend of the F4 UAE championship. This victory is richly deserved and we are all delighted to see Alex on the podium once again and in that top slot. Here’s wishing Alex all the best, and I am sure this victory will spur him on to even greater achievements.”
Alex is also entering the Italian F4 Championship with a new race car, stable backing and a top notch team, US Racing, which is headed up by former Formula 1 racer Ralf Schumacher and Gerhard Ungar. Similar to the ADAC Formel F4 Championship, the race car spec iof the Italian F4 series is powered by a160-hp Abarth T-Jet engine. The series itself is highly competitive, with 44 drivers from 19 different nations competing in the 21 race 2021 championship.
Commenting on the Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of The Year achievement Alex said: “I’m delighted and honoured to win this award. We worked hard, and despite all the challenges that Covid-19 brought regards travel, we had a great year and I couldn’t have wished for a better end to my debut season out of karting. We gained huge experience this year and I can’t wait to build on that in 2022. The funding will be a big help to my budget but I am also to delighted to receive other forms of support from both Motorsport Ireland and Sport Ireland. I hope to repay their faith in me with more strong performances as I aim to progress up through the FIA Formulas.”
In praise of Alex, Motorsport Ireland President John Naylor said: “The depth of talent among our young drivers is continuously growing and, alongside our partners in Sport Ireland, Motorsport Ireland is committed to supporting and developing drivers and providing them with every opportunity to succeed at the highest level. Alex is an exciting talent and I have no doubt he will represent Ireland with distinction as he progresses on his journey.”
With financial support during last year, helped Alex achieve these milestones in his fledgling career. Alex received sponsorship from Reynolds Logistics, Van Fleet Transport (VTL), The Harris Group (Maxus), which have put their names on his race car as well as PDS, Artisan, Xpress Health, NEA Designs and Motorsport Ireland.
The Harris Group, Ireland’s leading commercial vehicle distributor recently announced a two-year sponsorship deal to support Alex’s quest. At the sponsorship announcement, Denise Harris, CEO of Harris Group said: “For such a young man, Alex has the composure and confidence of someone with much more experience. We have been closely following Alex’s racing career over the past few years and are delighted to be part of his success. However, we know the best is yet to come and we are committed to supporting Alex in his endeavours to reach Formula 1. We are really looking forward to watching him race over the next few seasons as he continues to make his mark in international motorsport.”
“In his short career, Alex has already made a name for himself since debuting in the Irish Karting Championship in 2014. Since then, he has been no stranger to the podium with several wins in Ireland, UK and across Europe. 2021 sees him take on Formula 4, initially racing in Spain and now Germany with US Racing,” added Denise.
Commenting on what the backing from The Harris Group means, Alex said: “Joining a team like US Racing wouldn’t be possible without the support like this from sponsors such as the Harris Group and I really appreciate their belief in me. Motor racing is something that I love and is in my blood; I’ve been driving karts since I was 9 and really enjoy competing. Being able to race with a team like US Racing is a fantastic opportunity. I’ve got a great team and am learning every time I sit in the car.”
The Harris Group is Ireland’s pre-eminent importer and distributor of commercial vehicles. Founded in 1961 by Pino Harris, it is best known for its commercial vehicle brands that include Isuzu, Maxus, Hino and Higer. The company relocated in 2019 to a significant new business campus on Dublin’s Naas Road, featuring a training school, offices and extensive parts, workshop, and after-sales facilities.
Harris Group has an ever-expanding range of electric vehicles from LCVs to buses. The current offering includes the road-ready Maxus e DELIVER 3 and Maxus e DELIVER 9 electric vans and the Higer STEED, a 100% electric and metro-ready bus. The newest arrival is the Higer Azure. This 12-metre, 100% electric bus has ground-breaking technology that makes it even greener than ever before, with an industry leading range of over 375km on a single charge.