Others who knew Sean Edwards or witnessed him in his international races will offer far better, likely longer, tributes. I can only offer a pair of reflections on his ability from a fan’s standpoint.
Earlier this year, I was doing PR for one of the teams racing in the American Le Mans Series. The team had not made the trip to Long Beach, and so I had the rare – but enjoyable – opportunity to watch the ALMS race there from the grandstands observing Turn 10.
It’s as good a corner as you’ll see on a street course – a sweeping left-hander that challenges drivers to push hard enough but not overdrive as immediately after completing the sweep, you have to brake quickly into Long Beach’s signature corner, the hairpin. At the same time, you have to acknowledge faster prototypes are going to be overtaking, so you have to be constantly aware and allow room without getting too far off line.
And it was there, you could see Edwards sawing at the wheel, pushing relentlessly, just that fraction of a second quicker than his rivals in the ultra competitive and often overlooked GTC class. It’s a spec class, so in the single make of Porsche Cup cars, the fans had the chance to see Edwards excel at his maximum. It marked Edwards’ first, and sadly only, ALMS victory.
Later this year, with those PR commitments dropped, I again went to an ALMS race but simply as a fan for the ALMS/FIA World Endurance Championship joint weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
My dad and I had the opportunity to cheer, scream and gasp as we watched the final half hour of the ALMS race. Here was Edwards, leading Damien Faulkner in another Porsche, fighting neck-and-neck throughout the circuit. Faulkner got past through traffic but only after an incredible defense offered by Edwards.
It was like watching two maestros conducting a symphony at once.
Sadly today, one of those two is gone.