Something more cheerful now. Conor Daly has joined Carlin in GP3, having competed in and won the Star Mazda Championship, an American single-seater series. Conor, who is 19, won only one race in his first year in the cup – 2009 – but last season won seven races, had seven fastest laps and nine poles from the thirteen races. I don’t know what the points system is, but he far outclassed his opponents. Only once did he finish outside the top three, and then it was a fourth-place finish.
Before that, in 2008, he competed in a few races in the American F2000 Championship Series, as well as winning the Skip Barber National Championship as part of the Skip Barber Racing School (an American racing school). He finished 5 points ahead of his next rival. He also won the Walter Hayes Trophy in 2008, a Formula Ford 1600 competition hosted at Silverstone over the course of several days where more than 150 drivers come and battle it out. It’s the last event in the Silverstone calendar.
He is wise to move to GP3 if he wants to compete in Formula One racing, because it is much harder to enter the top league of racing from another direction. I wish I knew where he was hoping to end up, but there are plenty of father-son racing drivers out there from F1. Maybe in four or five years…
Conor has racing in his blood, being the son of Derek Daly – the most successful Irish Racing Driver ever. Derek Daly had five seasons in F1 from 1978-1982, with two non-classified championship finishes. He changed teams a lot, but when he did drive he had reasonable results: in his first season he had a sixth-place finish in the final GP in Canada, giving him one point and a 19th place finish in the championship. In his final season he raced mostly for Williams, and that car did well – he never finished outside the top 10 when he didn’t retire for Williams.
Derek moved on to CART, in America, where in 1984 he finished 19th (Mario Andretti finished first, Jack Brabham’s son finished 8th, Emerson Fittipaldi and Jaques Villeneuve’s dad finished joint 15th).