British driver Sean Edwards competes in the Porsche Supercup race in Monaco

Rising sports car star Sean Edwards killed in accident in Australia (UPDATED)

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UPDATE, 2:45 p.m. ET: The American Le Mans Series will pay tribute to Sean Edwards with a decal to be placed on all cars at this weekend’s Petit Le Mans. Renowned motorsports artist Andy Blackmore has created an illustration of Edwards’ helmet (see left).

“All of us at the American Le Mans Series extend our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Sean Edwards,” Scott Atherton, president and CEO of ALMS, said in a statement. “Sean was a rising star in sports car racing who found success in the United States and around the world. We will remember him as a driver and a human being with so much potential. He will be dearly missed.”

ORIGINAL, 9:25 a.m. ET: Rising sports car star Sean Edwards, 26, was killed in an accident Tuesday at Queensland Raceway in Australia.

According to media reports via SportsCar365 and the Courier Mail (Australia), Edwards’ Porsche 996 made impact with a tire wall at more than 200 km/h and it was reported his fatal injuries occurred instantly.

Edwards was coaching 20-year-old driver Will Holzheimer and was riding in the passenger’s seat. Holzheimer also suffered severe burns in the accident and needed three hours to be extricated.

The Englishman would have missed the American Le Mans Series finale, Petit Le Mans, with NGT Motorsport and co-driver Henrique Cisneros per a conflict this weekend, but has driven with him most of the year. No decision has yet been made by NGT regarding its participation the rest of this week.

The son of seventies F1 racer Guy Edwards drove his father’s car last year during filming for Ron Howard’s film Rush. Guy Edwards had been part of the rescue effort for Niki Lauda in Lauda’s crash at the Nurburgring.

The younger Edwards was in his fifth year of competition in the Porsche Supercup. Victories at the Circuit de Catalunya, Monaco (for the second year in a row) and the Hungaroring had helped him to an 18-point lead in the series with two races remaining at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend next month. He also won 24-hour races at Dubai and the Nurburgring (with Bernd Schneider, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Nicki Thiim) this year, and won an ALMS race at Long Beach with Cisneros.

Edwards first came to prominence in 2006 by winning the FIA’s GT3 sports car championship at the age of 19, thanks to victories in the final three races at the wheel of his Tech 9 Porsche.

But now, this news is yet another stunning blow to the world of motorsport in what’s been a tragic year, that has also witnessed the losses of drivers Dick Trickle, Jason Leffler, Allan Simonsen, and most recently Maria de Villota just a couple of days ago.

Keith Collantine also contributed to this report.

Sainz airlifted to hospital following practice crash

xxxx during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 10, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.
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Carlos Sainz Jr. has been airlifted to hospital after a big crash during the final free practice session for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday morning.

Under braking at turn 13, Sainz lost the backend of his Toro Rosso car, causing him to hit the left-hand wall before slamming into the TecPro barrier at the end of the run-off area.

The session was immediately red flagged as medical crews tended to Sainz, taking 20 minutes to extricate him from the Toro Rosso car due to how it had pitched under the barrier.

FIA media delegate Matteo Bonciani told reporters: “The driver is conscious and is still in the process of being extricated. When we know something, we will let you know.”

After being extricated from the car, Sainz was taken away on a stretcher before being placed in an ambulance, giving a thumbs up to let fans know that he was okay. He is also reported to have been talking to doctors in the medical centre after the crash.

Sainz has now been airlifted to hospital for further checks, and is set to miss qualifying later today, with Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost telling BBC Sport: “To sit him in the car immediately seems a bit risky, but we will wait and see.”

The damage caused to the TecPro barrier has also caused the planned GP3 race to be cancelled, giving the track workers time to carry out repairs ahead of the F1 qualifying session later today.

Qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Saturday.

Rosberg tops shortened FP3 in Russia after Sainz crash

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 09:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 9, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
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Nico Rosberg set the pace in final practice for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday morning as the session was called early following a heavy crash for Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr.

With 25 minutes remaining, the session was stopped when Sainz slammed into the wall at turn 13, pitching in under the TecPro barrier at the fastest point of the circuit.

A loss of power on the car meant that Toro Rosso could not make contact with its driver, causing concern as the medical crew was sent to the crash site to tend to Sainz.

Replays showed that Spaniard lost the back-end of his car under braking coming into turn 13, causing him to hit the wall on the left-hand side of the track before travelling down the track and into the wall at the end of the high-speed straight.

After being extricated from the car, Sainz was shown on TV cameras to be moving around on a stretcher, giving a thumbs up before being placed into an ambulance.

“The driver is conscious and is still in the process of being extricated,” FIA media chief Matteo Bonciani told reporters. “When we know something, we will let you know.”

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost added: “As far as I am informed, he is conscious. He is now with the doctor. I think that he is so far okay.”

With qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix due to start in just two hours’ time, it is unlikely that Sainz will be able to take part in the session, with Tost believing it to be “too risky”.

The amount of damage caused to the barrier could also result in delays across the course of Saturday’s running, with GP3 scheduled to race before the F1 qualifying session. The early sunset in Sochi could also cause problems towards the end of the day.