Jamie Conroy on fast track to high honours

The accolades continue for Invercargill driver Jamie Conroy after his sensational 2013-2014 motor racing season.

After dominating the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship to take the title with 16 wins from 18 races, and then adding the South Island Formula Ford Championship, 22-year-old Conroy was to the forefront at the Motorsport NZ Premier Awards in Dunedin on Saturday.

Conroy received his National Formula Ford title and was also a finalist in two of New Zealand motorsport's most prestigious awards - the Jim Clark Trophy and the Steel Memorial Trophy.

Conroy was one of three finalists for each award.

The Jim Clark Trophy is awarded to the driver who shows a sportsmanlike attitude to the sport and natural ability in putting up the most meritorious racing performance during the season.

Conroy and James Munro were finalists along with eventual winner Mitch Evans, currently racing internationally in the GP2 Championship, the feeder category to Formula 1.

The Steel Memorial Trophy is awarded to the junior driver who displays dedication, skill and a level of professionalism in their driving aiming to progress to the upper echelons of the sport.

Again Conroy was a finalist alongside fellow Southlander Brendon Leitch and Munro, of Christchurch, who took the award.

For Conroy, virtually unknown at the start of the season, making the finals of these awards was a huge acknowledgement of his talent in just his first season at national level.

Conroy was also confirmed as an inductee into the 2014 Elite Motorsport Academy.

The academy is run by the Motorsport NZ Scholarship Trust in conjunction with Excellence In Sport South Island and Otago University sports science specialists.

It features a demanding programme, both physically and mentally, focusing on a wide range of skills required for high performance sport.

Participants must meet a high level of physical fitness before attending.

Past graduates include Evans, previous award winner James Munro, who is currently racing in China, and 2011 Production World Rally Champion Hayden Paddon.

The awards night was just one highlight in a massive month for Conroy.

Early in May he was flown to Auckland to test a Toyota Racing Series car at Hampton Downs, while he is a finalist in the senior sportsperson category at tomorrow night's ILT Southland Sports Awards.

The Southland Times