Sunoco Challenge winners Lundquist and Reid impress on Daytona debuts

Kyle Reid set some impressive time on his Daytona debut in the Roar before the 24

Kyle Reid set some impressive time on his Daytona debut in the Roar before the 24

2019 Sunoco Challenge winners Linus Lundquist and Kyle Reid made their mark on the historic Daytona International Speedway, taking part in the ‘Roar Before The 24’ ahead of the 2018 Rolex 24 Hours and showing impressive speed, despite neither having visited the circuit before.

Sunoco 240 Challenge winner Kyle was the first to hit the track in a BMW M4 GT4, resplendent in a striking blue chrome with Sunoco yellow colour scheme. The 2018 Mini Challenge Cooper Pro champion got up to speed with the 3.0 litre, 431 BHP machine, methodically working through the team’s schedule, building his confidence each time out. In the final session he completed a qualifying run on low fuel with new tyres and was on race pace, a great way to finish the weekend.

The ‘Roar’ also presented BRDC British Formula 3 Champion Linus with his first opportunity to meet the team and acclimatise to his new car, the awesome Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO. He had his first opportunity to sit in the Precision Performance Motorsport-run car on Thursday, hitting the track for his first laps a day later. He wasted no time and very quickly asserted himself as the fastest driver in the car, utilising the advice of former Sunoco Challenge winner and Lamborghini factory driver Phil Keen, who was also testing at the circuit.

The super Swede had his final run in the car on Saturday during the evening test session, allowing him to experience the 31-degree banking for the first time under floodlights. Having completed several trouble-free runs in the car over the four test sessions Linus can be happy with his performance, setting consistently quick times as he worked with the team and his team-mates to dial the car into the circuit.

The 2019 race is a significant one with many milestones being achieved. IMSA is celebrating 50 years of close racing, Anglo American Oils is 20 years old, and the Sunoco Whelen Challenge programme has clocked up ten years.

The drivers now head to Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre where they will be attending Autosport International on Thursday 10th January, participating in a press conference at 11:00 on the Anglo-American Oil stand (number 1230) in Hall One. This will be followed by an appearance on the main stage for the drivers and Managing Director Anders Hildebrand, where they will discuss the ‘Roar’ and ten years of the programme at 14:30.

Linus Lundqvist, 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge champion:

“It’s an impressive circuit; your body gets really compressed on the high banks and that was quite an unusual but cool feeling! It was also the first time for me using spotters and, while it took me some time to get used to, in the end you start to realise that it’s actually very useful. It’s been an important test for me, trying out the car and track for the first time. All in all, it’s been a good couple of days, and I’ve enjoyed working with the team. I can’t wait to be back for the race in a few weeks’ time.”

 

Kyle Reid, 2019 Sunoco 240 Challenge Champion:

“It has been an amazing experience. It has been a steep learning curve for me with a new car, new team, and a new circuit, but I’m really happy with the way things have gone. The team couldn’t be nicer and the BMW M4 GT4 is a brilliant car to drive. I did some simulator sessions before we came over so I would know what I was letting myself in for which really helped, but it can’t prepare you for your first visit to Daytona because it is just such a special place. This really has been a once in a lifetime trip and this is only the Roar! I can’t wait for the race.”

 

Anders Hildebrand, Anglo American Oil Company Ltd Managing Director:

“Both drivers have performed extremely well. We know Linus is a top-flight driver, but he had to take a step back because the Lamborghini GT3 EVO GTD is much softer, much heavier, and rolls much more, but I must say he has coped really well. He was very quickly on par with other drivers and I think we’ll see him improving his times even more come the race.

“Kyle did really, really well. I always say, ‘you don’t need to prove you’re fast’. The Roar is so you can learn the track, get yourself happy with the team and car, and for Kyle it was a huge step going from a 130bhp Mini Cooper to over 400bhp, with downforce and rear wheel drive in his BMW. He did a qualifying run and was bang on the pace.”

 

What are the Sunoco Challenges?

The Sunoco Challenges provide an accurate assessment and comparison of performances across multiple championships during any given season. Points are awarded for qualifying and race results, including fastest lap, which are then converted into an individual average score for each competing driver over the course of a full campaign.

That means each race weekend offers drivers an equal chance to climb and drop down their respective Sunoco Challenge table. It also ensures that performances are taken into consideration across an entire season while placing less emphasis on one-off or unfair results.

This season’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge champion will win a fully funded drive aboard a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO in the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Sunoco 240 Challenge champion will contest the 240-minute BMW Endurance Challenge At Daytona support race held over the same January weekend at the wheel of a Sunoco-liveried BMW M4 GT4 car.

240 Challenge Winner Reid – To Race With Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW At Daytona

Anglo American Oil Company Ltd, distributors for Sunoco Race Fuels throughout UK, Europe and the Middle East, are today delighted to announce that Kyle Reid, winner of this years Sunoco 240 Challenge, will be driving for Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW race team in a BMW M4 GT4.

Reid will be joining Toby Grahovec and Jayson Clunie for the IMSA Michelin Pilot – BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway on 25th January 2019.

Kyle Reid (29) is this year’s Sunoco 240 Challenge winner, and the 2018 the Mini Challenge UK Cooper Pro Champion. He was able to take the championship and the Challenge prize win with some impressive results. Out of 20 races, Kyle was on the podium 18 times, winning 15 races.

Agreeing the deal with Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW for Kyle’s fully funded prize drive, Anders Hildebrand, Managing Director of AAOC, said, “Kyle is our 8th winner of the Sunoco 240 Challenge and beat over 160 other competitors from Mini Challenge, Radical, British GT, F3 Cup, Britcar, GT Cup and LMP3 to win the race seat at the 4-hour endurance race at Daytona. The Challenge point system is structured to promote speed and consistency, both important attributes to become a successful endurance driver, and for sure Kyle proved by winning the 2019 240 Challenge that he has an abundance of both.  I’ve seen Kyle race on many occasions and am confident that he will do a very good job. His commitment and preparation for this opportunity is second to none and he has already spent time in the Base Performance simulator with 2016 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Jonny Adam as his coach to learn the track and get a feeling for the BMW GT4 car he will be racing. I’m also very excited that we, this year, have teamed up with Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW team manager Toby Grahovec who will also be one of the drivers in the BMW that Kyle will race. We are very much looking forward to working with Toby and to present Kyle to his team – this could be the year we’ll have a good chance of a podium”. 

Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW’s Toby Grahovec added, “We are very excited to have Kyle join us at Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW. With his outstanding track record, we believe he will be a great asset in helping us pursue victory”.

In the 2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW M4 GT4 was impressive with a second place at Sebring with Grahovec and Clunie as well as a fourth place at the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway.

 

British F3 Champion Lundqvist Wins 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge

Super Swede Now Daytona-Bound For Fully-Funded Rolex 24 Outing

Linus Lundqvist has won the 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge after wrapping up this year’s BRDC British F3 Championship drivers’ title at Silverstone yesterday (October 14). The Swede will now make his sportscar racing debut at the legendary Daytona International Speedway this January courtesy of a fully-funded Rolex 24 At Daytona entry supported by Whelen Engineering Inc and Anglo American Oil Company Ltd.

Lundqvist’s victory came at the expense of 2015 prize winner Phil Keen who headed into the weekend just 0.1 point ahead in the standings following another standout British GT campaign. However, his young rival’s perfect first British F3 race at Silverstone, which comprised the maximum 140 points available for pole position, victory and fastest racing lap, was more than enough to initially jump ahead.

Pole for the championship’s second Sunoco Challenge-eligible race then ensured only 15 more points were required to seal the crown. But when adverse weather forced organisers to cancel it, the recalculated average scores gave Lundqvist the edge.

Indeed, Lundqvist finishes the season on 89.67 points, 3.5 points more than Keen and 12.67 points ahead of the 2016 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner and the newly crowned 2018 British GT Champion Jonny Adam.

Incredibly, Lundqvist’s success was confirmed less than 24 hours after British F3’s last senior Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner, Felipe Nasr, wrapped up 2018’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship crown with the same Whelen-sponsored Action Express Racing squad he tested with prior to his 2013 Daytona prize drive with Mike Shank Racing.

Lundqvist is joined in Daytona by 2018 Mini Challenge Cooper class champion Kyle Reid who will contest the four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Tire SportsCar Challenge support race as his prize for winning this year’s Sunoco 240 Challenge.

Linus Lundqvist, 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner: “Going to Daytona is incredible, I’ve never even been to the States to start with! So just being over there, doing my first endurance race and sharing the car with two or three other people will be a totally different experience and from what I’ve heard it’s a really fun thing to do and I’ll learn a lot and it will be an amazing experience.”

Anders Hildebrand, Anglo American Oil Company Ltd: “Congratulations to Linus who emerged as a very strong Sunoco Whelen Challenge candidate early in the season and maintained that form throughout. A perfect score in Silverstone’s first race ensured the Daytona drive was always in his hands thereafter, no matter what the elements threw at him. Felipe Nasr was the last single-seater driver to win the senior Challenge so it’s fitting that Linus could now make his sportscar debut alongside a driver whose own sports-prototype adventure began with Sunoco, Whelen and Action Express Racing back in 2013. His slicks and wings experience, which places more of an emphasis on aero grip, should also come in handy next January, while as a fellow countryman I’m also delighted to crown our first-ever Swedish winner!”

British F3 Champion Lundqvist Wins 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge

Super Swede Now Daytona-bound For Fully-Funded Rolex 24 Outing

Linus Lundqvist has won the 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge after wrapping up this year’s BRDC British F3 Championship drivers’ title at Silverstone yesterday (October 14). The Swede will now make his sportscar racing debut at the legendary Daytona International Speedway this January courtesy of a fully-funded Rolex 24 At Daytona entry supported by Whelen Engineering Inc and Anglo American Oil Company Ltd.

Lundqvist’s victory came at the expense of 2015 prize winner Phil Keen who headed into the weekend just 0.1 point ahead in the standings following another standout British GT campaign. However, his young rival’s perfect first British F3 race at Silverstone, which comprised the maximum 140 points available for pole position, victory and fastest racing lap, was more than enough to initially jump ahead.

Pole for the championship’s second Sunoco Challenge-eligible race then ensured only 15 more points were required to seal the crown. But when adverse weather forced organisers to cancel it, the recalculated average scores gave Lundqvist the edge.

Indeed, Lundqvist finishes the season on 89.67 points, 3.5 points more than Keen and 12.67 points ahead of the 2016 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner and the newly crowned 2018 British GT Champion Jonny Adam.

Incredibly, Lundqvist’s success was confirmed less than 24 hours after British F3’s last senior Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner, Felipe Nasr, wrapped up 2018’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship crown with the same Whelen-sponsored Action Express Racing squad he tested with prior to his 2013 Daytona prize drive with Mike Shank Racing.

Lundqvist is joined in Daytona by 2018 Mini Challenge Cooper class champion Kyle Reid who will contest the four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Tire SportsCar Challenge support race as his prize for winning this year’s Sunoco 240 Challenge.

Linus Lundqvist, 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner: “Going to Daytona is incredible, I’ve never even been to the States to start with! So just being over there, doing my first endurance race and sharing the car with two or three other people will be a totally different experience and from what I’ve heard it’s a really fun thing to do and I’ll learn a lot and it will be an amazing experience.”

Anders Hildebrand, Anglo American Oil Company Ltd: “Congratulations to Linus who emerged as a very strong Sunoco Whelen Challenge candidate early in the season and maintained that form throughout. A perfect score in Silverstone’s first race ensured the Daytona drive was always in his hands thereafter, no matter what the elements threw at him. Felipe Nasr was the last single-seater driver to win the senior Challenge so it’s fitting that Linus could now make his sportscar debut alongside a driver whose own sports-prototype adventure began with Sunoco, Whelen and Action Express Racing back in 2013. His slicks and wings experience, which places more of an emphasis on aero grip, should also come in handy next January, while as a fellow countryman I’m also delighted to crown our first-ever Swedish winner!”

 

Sunoco Whelen Title Up For Grabs This Weekend!!

It’s crunch time in the 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge, which will be decided at Silverstone on 13th/14th October.

It comes down to this coming weekend, maths, calculators and what happens in the BRDC British F3 Championship. Will it be Sweden’s young up and coming superstar Linus Lundqvist, or Denmark’s sensational Nicolai Kjaergaard, who was on a mission at Donington last time out as Lundqvist’s charge to Daytona faltered.

Can either of these two young F3 stars overall the slender points advantage enjoyed by British GT3 star, and former Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Phil Keen?

Keen will no doubt be watching from his armchair as his season is over and he is in the clubhouse with 86.17 points.

In previous years, the winner of the Sunoco Whelen Challenge cannot be eligible for the Challenge a second time. In 2018, it has been different. For this year only – past winners, (Keen and British GT3 Champion – Jonny Adam), have also competed for the prize. Keen has exploited this once in a lifetime opportunity to be in with a chance of revisiting Daytona in January 2019.

What Has to Happen???? – It Is All About The Points!!

To stop Phil Keen, the 2015 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner, securing another sensational prize in the challenge, both L Lundqvist and Kjaergaard must perform and improve their overall season average scores. To do this the following scenarios need to play out.

Linus Lundqvist needs:

1x win plus 3rd place = 175 points

1x pole plus 1x 2nd plus 1x 3rd = 180 points

2x pole plus 1x 4th plus 1x 3rd = 180 points

2x pole plus 1x fastest lap plus 1x 4th 1x 5th = 180 points

2x pole 2x fastest lap plus 2x 5th = 190 points

For Nicolai Kjaergaard to overall Keen & Lundqvist, he would need to do the following over the course of the whole race weekend:

2x pole, 2x fastest laps, 1x 1st 1x 2nd

That would be 265 points for the young Dane to sensationally snatch the Sunoco Whelen Challenge at the last race of the year.

Sunoco 240 Challenge: No Change At the Top

With the top-six drivers, including long-time leader Kyle Reid, not in action at Brands Hatch, the focus shifted to the amateur drivers racing in British GT3 and GT4.

Kelvin Fletcher has led the category’s charge in recent weeks and again improved his average score by finishing second in GT4’s Pro/Am class. His new 87.45-point total is 29.22 marks behind that of Reid, whose lead over nearest rival Steve Burgess (Radical Challenge) remains 14.59 points.

Burgess, as well as those drivers occupying positions three to six, will go head-to-head this weekend when Brands Hatch hosts Mini Challenge JCW and Radical Challenge heads to Snetterton. Reid, meanwhile, returns to action at Brands Hatch’s ‘Mini Fest’ on August 25-26.

The only other significant change saw Flick Haigh move from 14th to 10th after claiming fastest Am lap en route to British GT3 victory alongside Jonny Adam.

Lundqvist & Reid Continue To Set Sunoco Whelen & 240 Challenge Pace

Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps welcomed BRDC British F3, British GT, Mini Challenge JCW and Radical UK Challenge drivers last Saturday and Sunday on a bumper weekend of Sunoco Whelen and 240 Challenge action.

However, two familiar names remain top of their respective standings after Linus Lundqvist defended his Whelen lead thanks to another winning British F3 performance, and Kyle Reid extended his 240 advantage despite the Mini Challenge Cooper championship enjoying a weekend off.

 Whelen: As you were at the top

 Linus Lundqvist maintained his healthy lead in the race for January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona prize drive courtesy of another fast and consistent British F3 outing at Silverstone. A victory, pole position and second place in the championship’s two Sunoco points-paying contests helped him average 102.5 for the weekend, the same number as his pre- and post-event totals.

A slight improvement from his nearest rival Phil Keen – who finished second in British GT’s race at the same venue – saw the overall gap between them close by 0.18 points. However, Lundqvist’s new 9.92-point advantage remains significant as the season enters its second half. Indeed, the Swede will likely require a poor weekend if the likes of Keen and third place driver Stuart Moseley are to make serious inroads.

Lundqvist’s F3 title rival Nicolai Kjaergaard remains fourth, albeit 24.37 points adrift, while a second victory and third podium in as many British GT3 races has brought Nicki Thiim into play. The Dane made a sluggish start to the season but has risen up the rankings in recent weeks and now lies just 2.05 points behind his fellow countryman.

TF Sport team-mate and ‘Dane Train’ partner in crime Marco Sorensen picked up extra marks for a third consecutive British GT3 fastest lap at Silverstone and lies sixth, one place ahead of Kush Maini who added 10 to his season’s total by claiming two British F3 podiums, a pole position and fastest lap.

British GT3 rivals Yelmer Buurman and Jonny Adam are next up, while the same championship’s best placed GT4 Pro driver, Patrik Matthiesen  rounds out the top-10.

240: Reid extends lead without turning a wheel

 A weekend off for leader Kyle Reid offered his Radical UK Challenge, British GT3/4 Am and Mini Challenge JCW rivals an opportunity to close the gap.

Steve Burgess went into the weekend as Reid’s nearest challenger after enjoying a strong start to this season’s Radical UK Challenge campaign. However, high average scores are only maintained through consistently strong results, and at Spa Burgess suffered his weakest weekend of the season so far. Indeed, just one podium and pole position across the three races reduced his average by more than 20 points to 102.22.

That’s 21.78 fewer than Reid and just 3.33 more than Radical rival Dominic Jackson who added 10 points to his season’s average by claiming three wins, two fastest laps and a pole position in Belgium.

Kelvin Fletcher also continued his climb up the standings thanks to another excellent British GT4 Am performance. Class victory and fastest lap sees him move up two places and nine points to fourth ahead of F3 Cup’s Stuart Wiltshire, who didn’t race last weekend, and Jon Minshaw who finished second in British GT3.

A perfect British GT3 weekend for Mark Farmer, which featured victory, fastest Am lap and pole position, sees him lie less than two points behind championship rival Minshaw and a similar number ahead of Mini Cooper Pro racer Robbie Dalgleish.

Ant Whorton-Eales picked up a brace of podiums to remain best-placed Mini Challenge JCW driver in ninth, while British GT4 Am Nick Jones rounds out the top-10.

 

 

BGT: Farmer & Thiim Win Thier First RAC Trophy

Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim picked up their second victory and third podium in as many races to vault into championship contention at Silverstone after recovering from a spin and overcoming a 10s success penalty.

The Aston Martin was running second behind Ricardo Sanchez’s RJN Motorsport Nissan when Graham Davidson spun Farmer around at Maggotts in the opening stint, for which the Jetstream Motorsport driver was handed a stop/go penalty. That gave Sanchez a 16s lead before the first pitstops began after 60 minutes.

TF Sport’s decision to swap Derek Johnston with Marco Sorensen early helped the #17 Aston Martin jump ahead in the second hour, while Sanchez’s co-driver Struan Moore dropped into the clutches of the chasing pack after his seat mechanism slipped backwards, shifting his feet away from the pedals. The resulting early pitstop to rectify the issue effectively ended the pole-sitters’ hopes.

At the same time Thiim was making progress back through the field and moved into third behind Sorensen and Phil Keen when Adam Christodoulou’s Team ABBA Racing Mercedes-AMG retired with front suspension damage. Stopping later then helped the Dane inherit a lead that Farmer would retain when the second round of driver changes shook out.

However, the race was far from over thanks to the crew’s 10s success penalty for finishing third at Snetterton, which would be served at the final mandatory pitstop. Farmer pitted with exactly that advantage over Jon Minshaw, and when the Barwell Lamborghini followed TF Sport’s V12 Vantage in on the same lap it became a battle between mechanics and the stopwatch. Thiim then narrowly beat Keen off pit road and, with it, retained a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

Instead, Keen’s attention switched to keeping Jonny Adam at bay behind. The Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin also driven by Flick Haigh started sixth but enjoyed four clean stints en route to its first podium since Oulton Park’s season opener.

Fourth should have gone to last year’s winners Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris who were reunited aboard Team Parker Racing’s Bentley as a result of Ryan Ratcliffe being taken ill with food poisoning this morning. So late was the call that Morris didn’t arrive at Silverstone until five minutes before his first stint began, by which time Parfitt Jnr had twice charged through from the back of the GT3 field after starting last – a penalty for changing drivers during the event – and then spinning mid-stint. However, the pair’s efforts were stymied by Morris’ yellow flag infringement, which resulted in a post-race two-place penalty.

Moore and Sanchez were also left to rue what might have been but still achieved RJN and NISMO’s best result of the season with fifth on the road and fourth in the final classification after finishing just 0.4s ahead of Johnston and Sorensen, whose 20s success penalty for winning at Snetterton took them out of podium contention. Nevertheless, the Dane’s pursuit of Moore over the final stint saw him claim a new GT3 lap record – 1m59.725s – and third-straight Sunoco Fastest Lap Award.

Barwell’s second Lamborghini driven by Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker finished seventh after a mid-race spin during a feisty battle with Thiim, Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell’s McLaren was eighth, and Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard and Darren Turner ninth. ERC Sport’s Lee Mowle and Yelmer Buurman completed the points finishers in 10th.

Team Parker Racing’s 2am finish on Saturday morning, the result of removing one car’s engine to rectify an oil issue and taking the whole front end off the second Bentley, saw it named PMW Expo Team of the Weekend, while Minshaw’s fault-free run from 12th to second helped him win the Blancpain Driver of the Weekend Award.

2012 Whelen Challenge Winner – Felipe Nasr Wins Chevrolet Grand Prix In Detroit

Detroit, Mich. (2 June 2018)   Whelen Engineering Racing used teamwork, strategy, and great race pace to score its first victory of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season on Saturday in the Chevrolet Dealers Grand Prix in Detroit.

This was Whelen Engineering Racing’s second victory in three years at Belle Isle comes on Sonny Whelen’s Birthday!

Drivers Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr, (Sunoco Whelen Winner 2012),  shared the driving duties in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing DPi-V.R to capture their third podium finish of the 2018 season. The post-race celebrations, which included a jump into the Victory Circle fountain for both drivers, were further boosted by the fact that the race victory came on the birthday of long-time motorsport and Team Fox supporter Sonny Whelen.

A crash in Friday’s practice session could have set the team effort back, but instead the group rallied to make repairs in time for qualifying. Curran started the race from sixth in the order and was able to move to run in fifth before taking to the pit lane for a stop for fuel and a driver change. Nasr returned to the field 18th in the order but worked his way forward to the top five by lap 38.

A final fuel-only pit stop on lap 39 set the stage for Nasr’s run to the front as he claimed the lead on lap 44 and refused to relinquish the point to score a big win for the team.

“It is a combination of everything,” said Gary Nelson about the teams run to victory. “The drivers did one heck of a job and we are really thrilled with what they did today. The pit stops were great. I think we have the best pit crew out there and we nailed the timing of those stops with the 31 today.”

“A big shout out to the Action Express, Cadillac, and GM guys who helped us get this win,” said Curran. “This is the place to be, and the place to win in our Whelen Cadillac. Hats off to the engineering team who took a not so perfect weekend and turned it around. The team did an awesome job with the car. This is my second win in the last number of years and if you are going to win a race, this is the best place to win one. It feels so satisfying to have our first win of the year. It is also a special win as it is Sonny Whelen’s birthday from Whelen. Felipe Nasr did a killer job and put it together perfectly. Again, hats off to all the guys.”

“It was a tough race but I will take it! Eric (Curran) and the entire Action Express Racing team did a great job,” said Nasr. “After our first practice, we ended up hurting the back of the car. The guys put the car back together and we had an amazing qualifying. The race itself was all about getting the right calls and we took the Continental tires to the very end, which they hang on amazingly so I was able to drive the car fast until the end. We didn’t have a great start to  the weekend but here we are,  and I couldn’t have asked for a better day to be honest. I am super happy!”

The next race on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be the Sahlen’s Six Hour at Watkins Glen International on July 1.

BGT Race 1: First Win Of The Season For TF Sport

A beautiful morning greeted teams and drivers at Snetterton where the first of two 60-minute races began under blue skies and bright sunshine.

Mark Farmer led away from pole and remained there for much of the opening stint until Graham Davidson and Rick Parfitt Jnr passed the Aston Martin on the same lap as the race clock ticked past one-third’s distance.

However, the timing of a Safety Car – to recover Balfe Motorsport’s stranded McLaren GT4 – would turn the race on its head. The contest was still neutralised when the pit window opened on the 25-minute mark, prompting all-but two cars – both of them GT4s – to stream into a busy pitlane.

With no success penalty to serve Jetstream’s Aston Martin should have re-joined with its advantage intact. However, a radio issue and subsequent confusion allowed TF Sport’s Nicki Thiim to assume a lead he would never lose. Indeed, the Dane completed a straightforward run to the chequered flag 7.4s ahead of Maxime Martin, who claimed his and Davidson’s maiden British GT podium.

Behind, Team Parker Racing’s challenge also faltered in the pits when a slow stop saw Parfitt Jnr’s co-driver Ryan Ratcliffe re-join in 10th. Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw therefore rounded-out the podium after their Barwell Lamborghini completed the opening stint in fourth.

Optimum Motorsport’s Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam came through from ninth on the grid to finish fourth but were penalised 30s post-race in leiu of a drive-through due to contact with Beechdean AMR’s Aston Martin, which retired during the opening stint. Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker therefore recovered from an early spin to take fifth on the road but fourth in the final classification aboard their Barwell Huracan.

While the top-five circulated apart after the pitstops, the battle for sixth raged until almost the very end. RJN Motorsport’s Struan Moore spent most of the stint trying to fend off TF Sport’s Marco Sorensen, who – try as he might – simply couldn’t prise an opening. He finally found a way past with less than 10 minutes remaining when the Nissan’s tyres cried enough. Yelmer Buurman (ERC Sport) also nipped through shortly after, although Moore did manage to claim P8 – which subsequently became seventh – despite Callum Macleod’s best efforts.

Haigh and Adam slotted into ninth ahead of Ratcliffe and Parfitt Jnr’s delayed Bentley.

GT4: PATTISON AND OSBORNE MAKE SAFETY CAR ADVANTAGE COUNT

The Safety Car’s timing had a significant impact on the GT4 result, just as it did 12 months ago at Snetterton. But, when then David Pattison and Joe Osborne’s victory chances eroded under similar circumstances, so they benefitted this time around to claim their first victory together with Tolman Motorsport and McLaren.

The opening stint belonged to Century Motorsport’s pole-sitter Ben Tuck who was more than four seconds clear of the chasing pack when the Safety Car intervened. Silver Cup pairings are required to serve a longer pitstop than their Pro/Am rivals, and when the field streamed in nose-to-tail it was clear the latter crews would instantly enjoy a 12s advantage.

Pattison pitted from third in Pro/Am but, despite Tolman having to service three cars, Osborne re-joined in second overall behind Matthew George’s Invictus Games Racing Jaguar, which was subsequently penalised for a short pitstop. But Osborne didn’t wait for the F-Type to serve its penalty and duly took the lead before cruising to a comfortable first British GT win since 2012.

Behind, similar penalties for UltraTek Racing’s Nissans helped Tolman’s #5 McLaren inherit second overall and first in the Silver Cup class. Michael O’Brien’s fast opening stint saw the 570S climb from seventh to fourth before Charlie Fagg took over. He then spent most of the final 30 minutes fending off Matt Nicoll-Jones, whose Academy co-driver Will Moore also ran third before the pit window opened, as well as Team Parker’s Scott Malvern whose co-driver Nick Jones pitted from 11th in class. Only a second covered the trio at the finish.

Two front-runners caught out by the late pitstop call were Century and Track-Club. The latter’s Adam Balon pitted from the Pro/Am lead and would have likely emerged first overall were it not for an overly long pitstop. As it was co-driver Ben Barnicoat finished fifth ahead of Ben Green, whose co-driver Tuck had seen his hard work wiped out by the Safety Car.

Daniel Mckay and Finlay Hutchison’s Equipe Verschuur McLaren and the third Tolman 570S driven by Jordan Albert and Lewis Proctor completed the top-eight, although the latter crew was penalised 30s post-race in lieu of a drive-through for overtaking before the start/finish line after the Safety Car was withdrawn.

That promoted Patrik Matthiesen and Callum Pointon to eighth after HHC’s duo recovered from their additional 10s pitstop success penalty, while Sennan Fielding and Tom Canning also worked miracles aboard their Steller Motorsport Toyota to finish ninth despite starting from the pitlane. Fox Motorsport’s Michael Broadhurst and Mark Murfitt completed the points-paying positions in 10th.