Neil Shanahan was born in Churchtown, Dublin, Ireland.
He was one of Ireland's most promising young drivers. He won six races on his way to clinching the 1998 'Ford of Ireland' Formula Ford Zetec title and had been signed to drive for the for the works Van Diemen Team in 1999.
He was awarded Ireland's top motor sport award, the 1998 'RIAC Dunlop Driver of the Year' joining an elite few by taking the prestigious prize for a second consecutive year.
In 1999 he was competing in the British Formula Ford Championship in a Van Diemen RF99/Solus. In May he crashed at Oulton Park on the approach to Clay Hill, just after the Knickerbrook right-hander and succumbed to his injuries.