Jackson and McKenna climb back into contention while Hoggard reasserts control in Sunoco Challenges

Last month the Sunoco Whelen Challenge and Sunoco 240 Challenge standings had changed drastically, and things are no different this time out.

At this rate, neither contest will have a clear victor until the very end of the season, when two deserving winners will race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona, respectively.

Sunoco Whelen Challenge: Hoggard leapfrogs into lead

A perfect weekend at Donington Park, from an eligible points-scoring point of view, means Johnathan Hoggard climbs from fourth place to the lead of the Sunoco Whelen Challenge standings. Taking two pole positions and two wins in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, the youngster heads series rival Clement Novalak by almost seven average points.

Meanwhile, another podium finish for Jonny Cocker in GT3 in the British GT Championship keeps him in third place, ensuring that neither Johnathan nor Clement can relax. Just behind him, Seb Priaulx’s GT4 victory keeps the youngster in contention and puts him ahead of Ayrton Simmons, with the leading five starting to pull clear of the rest of the pack.

Click here for the complete Sunoco Whelen Challenge standings

Sunoco 240 Challenge: McKenna races forward while Jackson dominates

With the leading duo of Robbie Dalgleish and Cian Carey not in action over the past few weeks, their close battle atop the Sunoco 240 Challenge standings has not changed, however things are on the move behind.

Dominik Jackson had a fantastic trip to Spa in the Radical Challenge Championship, taking three wins to move up one spot into third place. Scott McKenna, meanwhile, took two victories in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge at Zandvoort to jump from 12th to fourth, narrowly moving ahead of James Gornall, who had a second and fourth in the Mini Challenge UK JCW series at Donington Park.

Click here for the complete Sunoco 240 Challenge standings

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 year’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge champion will win a fully funded race seat at the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona, courtesy of Whelen. Sunoco’s 240 Challenge champion will contest Daytona’s 240-minute BMW Endurance Challenge support race held over the same January weekend at the wheel of a Sunoco-supported GT4 car.

The Sunoco Challenges are organised by Sunoco Racing Fuels’ official European distributor, Anglo American Oil Company Ltd.

Sunoco Whelen Challenge-eligible series:

BRDC British Formula 3 Championship
British GT Championship – GT3 Pro and Silver, and GT4 Pro and Silver

Sunoco 240 Challenge-eligible series:

British GT Championship – GT3 Am and GT4 Am
F3 Cup
GT Cup Championship
Mini Challenge – JCW and Cooper Pro
Radical UK Challenge
Ginetta GT5 Challenge
Ginetta G40 Cup
Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK

All change in Sunoco Challenges as battles heat up into summer stretch

What a difference one month makes to the top of the standings in the Sunoco Whelen Challenge and Sunoco 240 Challenge. With such variation from week to week it is virtually impossible to tell who might emerge victorious at this stage, but it clearly will be an enthralling battle to the final positions at the end of the year when we’ll find out who wins those coveted drives in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and BMW Endurance Challenge At Daytona.

Sunoco Whelen Challenge: Simmons shoots into contention

It is all about the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship drivers at the top of the standings as Ayrton Simmons vaults into second place after taking a win and a third place in the two Sunoco Whelen Challenge eligible races at Silverstone and he closes in on leader Clement Novalak with just eight average points between the pair. The leader in the standings took a win himself, but a sixth-place fin ish has left him vulnerable to his series rival. Jonny Cocker sits in third position after he finished eighth at the challenging three-hour Silverstone 500 during the same weekend, though BRDC F3 driver Johnathan Hoggard is merely fractions of a point behind in fourth.

Click here for the complete Sunoco Whelen Challenge standings.

Clement Novalak takes a win at Silverstone in the BRDC British F3 Championship Jonny Cocker in action in the British GT Championship at Silverstone

Sunoco 240 Challenge: Dalgleish capitalises on Carey’s misfortune

Things could not be closer for the leading drivers in the Sunoco 240 Challenge, where a host of non-finishes has shaken things up a good amount in recent weeks. Toppling then-leader Cian Carey is Robbie Dalgleish who took a win and second place in the Mini Challenge Cooper Pro class at Oulton Park. Carey was in action the same day but a DNF after finishing third in race one has dropped him into second place, albeit with just one point between the pair. Just behind is Alistair Barclay who had a solid weekend at Silverstone with a third and fourth place and keeping a close watch is Jerome De Sadeleer who has not taken to the track since May but will be out at Spa shortly. A good weekend could really put him into contention.

Click here for the complete Sunoco 240 Challenge standings.

Robbie Dalgleish racing in Mini Challenge at Oulton Park Cian Carey races in F3 Cup at Oulton Park

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 year’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge champion will win a fully funded race seat at the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona, courtesy of Whelen. Sunoco’s 240 Challenge champion will contest Daytona’s 240-minute BMW Endurance Challenge support race held over the same January weekend at the wheel of a Sunoco-supported GT4 car.

The Sunoco Challenges are organised by Sunoco Racing Fuels’ official European distributor, Anglo American Oil Company Ltd.

Sunoco Whelen Challenge-eligible series:

BRDC British Formula 3 Championship
British GT Championship – GT3 Pro and GT4 Pro

Sunoco 240 Challenge-eligible series:

British GT Championship – GT3 Am and GT4 Am
F3 Cup
GT Cup Championship
Mini Challenge – JCW and Cooper Pro
Radical UK Challenge
Ginetta GT5 Challenge
Ginetta G40 Cup
Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK

Novolak and Barclay head early running in Sunoco Challenge standings

With all eligible series having now started their 2019 campaigns, the Sunoco Whelen Challenge and Sunoco 240 Challenge standings are starting to take shape. The BRDC British F3 Championship again heads the way in the former, after Linus Lundqvist won the prestigious drive at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in January, while a remarkable five drivers from five different series fill the top places in the Sunoco 240 Challenge.

Sunoco Whelen Challenge: Novolak heads the way

Clement Novolak sits atop the Sunoco Whelen Challenge standings after leaving Oulton Park with a win and a second place finish. However, he is joined on 102.50 average points by Johnathan Hoggard who took a win and a third in Cheshire. Hoggard has taken advantage of the Team Fox five average point boost donation, whereas Novolak is yet to do so, so this could pull the latter clear at a later date.

The first of the British GT Championship runners sits third, as Jonny Cocker finished fourth in race one at Oulton Park but followed up with the victory in race two after excellent work by team-mate Sam De Haan, who is competing in the Sunoco 240 Challenge. Cocker is looking strong with 95.75 average points ahead of this weekend’s races at Snetterton.

Just behind on 80.00 average points is Ayrton Simmons, another BRDC F3 driver, after he scored a second and third place to open the season, though a DNF in race two leaves him a little behind at this stage. Narrowly in fifth with 79.20 average points is the first GT4 competitor in British GT, as Seb Priaulx recorded a pole position and race win alongside Scott Maxwell.

Click here for the complete Sunoco Whelen Challenge standings.

Sunoco 240 Challenge: Barclay fending off host of competitors

Alistair Barclay has the lead in the Sunoco 240 Challenge, but it is a narrow advantage in these early stages of the season. His three wins, three pole positions, and two fastest laps in the Ginetta G40 Cup, as well as his Team Fox five average points donation boost mean he has 138.33 average points.

Close behind, with 131.67 average points, is Cian Carey, racing in F3 Cup this year. Cian has not been outside the top three in the six races so far, taking three wins to boot.

Robbie Dalgleish sits third, with 117.50 average points from the Mini Challenge Cooper Pro driver, hoping to emulate Kyle Reid who claimed the Sunoco-backed drive at Daytona earlier this year. With James Gornall from Mini Challenge JCW on 107.50 and Jerome De Sadeleer from Radical UK Challenge on 105.00, not only are the top five places closely fought, but there are five different championships represented in those places.

However, with those having had two race weekends so far, the standings are likely to change significantly after two more races for the eligible British GT Championship GT3 and GT4 Am drivers, as well as those in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge and Mini Challenge JCW series this weekend. It will be an exciting battle throughout the year and one well worth keeping an eye on.

Click here for the complete Sunoco 240 Challenge standings.

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 year’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge champion will win a fully funded race seat at the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona, courtesy of Whelen. Sunoco’s 240 Challenge champion will contest Daytona’s 240-minute BMW Endurance Challenge support race held over the same January weekend at the wheel of a Sunoco-supported GT4 car.

The Sunoco Challenges are organised by Sunoco Racing Fuels’ official European distributor, Anglo American Oil Company Ltd.

Sunoco Whelen Challenge-eligible series:

BRDC British Formula 3 Championship
British GT Championship – GT3 Pro and GT4 Pro

Sunoco 240 Challenge-eligible series:

British GT Championship – GT3 Am and GT4 Am
F3 Cup
Britcar Endurance
GT Cup Championship
Mini Challenge – JCW and Cooper Pro
Radical UK Challenge
Ginetta GT5 Challenge
Ginetta G40 Cup
Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK

Sunoco becomes official fuel supplier for Ginetta race series

Sunoco is pleased to announce that it will become the official fuel supplier of both Ginetta Cars’ GT5 Challenge and G40 Cup race series from the 2019 season onwards.

As the largest manufacturer and refiner of racing fuels in the world, Sunoco is a brand which is trusted across the globe, supplying products to a wide variety of championships.

Leading British race car manufacturer Ginetta not only sells its cars around the world but provides a genuine pathway for drivers’ progression across its successful single-make UK racing series. The G40 Cup series is aimed at drivers who have recently shed their novice crosses, while the Ginetta GT5 Challenge is one of the largest on its roster.

Both series will also become eligible for the prestigious Sunoco 240 Challenge, meaning that drivers from a record 11 race series across the United Kingdom and Europe will be battling for a drive in the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge race at Daytona International Speedway ahead of the 2020 Rolex 24.

Anders Hildebrand, founder, Anglo American Oil Company Ltd

“I am delighted that Ginetta has selected Sunoco race fuels as the official supplier for its G40 Cup and GT5 Challenge. Both are strong race series which feature close racing and exciting battles on track and both are eligible for the fantastic Sunoco 240 Challenge.

“With two more closely-fought race series being added to those participating in the 2019 Sunoco 240 Challenge, it will be one of the most exciting battles for a spot in the BMW Endurance Challenge race that we have witnessed in the eight years it has been running.”

Ash Gallagher, Motorsports Manager, Ginetta Cars

“Sunoco is a world-leading racing fuel company and Ginetta is delighted that it will bring its excellence and quality as it supplies the successful GT5 Challenge and G40 Cup series.

“With its track record across the world it was a simple choice to work with Sunoco and an added bonus that drivers in both series will be eligible for a drive at Daytona International Speedway in 2020.

“With drivers in both series already competing on a number of iconic circuits as part of two of the country’s biggest race packages as well as enjoying a trip Zandvoort in July, there is now this added incentive for success on track this season.”

Sunoco becomes control fuel supplier to Volkswagen Racing Cup and Touring Car Trophy

Continuing its association with some of the most successful race series in the United Kingdom, Sunoco is proud to announce that it is to become the official fuel supplier to both the Volkswagen Racing Cup and the Maximum Group Touring Car Trophy.

Drivers from both championships will also be eligible for the Sunoco 240 Challenge, the winner of which will earn a drive at the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge support race to the Rolex 24 At Daytona, in which 2019 Sunoco 240 Challenge winner Kyle Reid made his debut this year.
Launched in 2000, the Volkswagen Racing Cup is one of the most exciting saloon car championships in the UK. For 2019 it will once again be part of the support package for the British GT Championship, for which Sunoco is also the official fuel supplier.
New for 2019, the Maximum Group Touring Car Trophy aims to bridge the gap between one-make racing and the British Touring Car Championship, helping club level teams and drivers to race a wide variety of eligible cars, but without the prohibitive costs of the BTCC.

 

Anders Hildebrand, founder, Anglo American Oil Company Ltd

“It is fantastic that we have been selected by Stewart Lines to provide Sunoco race fuels to both the Volkswagen Racing Cup and the Maximum Group Touring Car Trophy. We are already familiar with the close action in the Volkswagen Racing Cup from its slot in support of the British GT Championship and are delighted to be involved in the inaugural year for the Maximum Group Touring Car Trophy.

“With the 2019 240 Challenge now featuring nine of the toughest championships in the UK and Europe, competition for the drive in the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge race at Daytona International Speedway will be tougher than ever.”

 

Stewart Lines, Managing Director, Maximum Motorsport

“Choosing to run on Sunoco racing fuel is another step in the right direction for the Volkswagen Racing Cup and the Maximum Group Touring Car Trophy. The use of Sunoco fuel helps ensure parity in both of our race series and offers the added incentives for drivers to compete in the demanding Sunoco 240 Challenge so it’s great news for 2019”.

 

Reid impresses on Daytona debut in BMW Endurance Challenge

Daytona debutant and 2019 Sunoco 240 Challenge winner Kyle Reid capped off a superb weekend by not only starting the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge race at Daytona but taking the chequered flag as well.

Cheered on by friends and family, Kyle qualified the Fast Track Racing / Classic BMW Sunoco-liveried M4 GT4 during Thursday evening’s 15-minute session, clocking a time of 1:55.287, 22nd overall, and third fastest BMW driver on the 49-car grid.

Making up four places in the opening two laps of the race, the Mini Challenge Cooper Pro Champion kept things steady before pitting during a full-course yellow at the 45-minute mark and handing over driving duties. Sound strategy meant the car led the race at half distance, but unavoidable contact with a spinning Audi cost the outfit six laps as repairs were made.

Further misfortune befell the team as a puncture necessitated another stop, though this provided Kyle with the chance for a final stint to bring the car home to the flag on his Daytona debut. Despite a 30th place finish, the team was just a moment of misfortune away from what could have been a spectacular result.

“I’ve loved everything about it,” said Kyle. “The start of the race was something else, going into turn one with 49 cars on the grid. In every mirror there was a car, so I just picked a line and managed to get through. I made up four places and then handed over to Jayson [Clunie].

“The car was leading at one point, but we picked up some damage when Toby [Grahovec] had contact and it lost us six laps, but it meant I was able to get back in the car to take the chequered flag which was special.

“I’ve gained so much experience and knowledge of driving a GT4 car and I’ve loved it. The team have been fantastic; they’ve welcomed me with open arms. I was worried coming in, but we’ve come away the quickest driver in the car and you never know, I might be back racing here in the US. It’s an amazing experience and something I’ll always remember and be able to tell the grandchildren about. I just need to thank Anders and Sunoco for the opportunity.”

“Kyle did exceptionally well, considering he came from a Mini Cooper and we placed him in a completely alien environment with 31-degree banking and a BMW M4 GT4 race car that is four times the power and rear wheel drive,” said Anders Hildebrand, Anglo American Oil Company Managing Director.

“After two days of testing Kyle was on the pace of the team manager and pro driver and the team were so impressed that they let him not only qualify but start the race. Unfortunately, there was a little incident half way through that meant we didn’t get the result we wanted but until then the car was on the pace and Kyle did us very proud.”

Lundqvist not fazed by torrential rain on debut at Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona

2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Linus Lundqvist completed his debut appearance at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, despite some of the most extreme conditions the race has been held under. With torrential rain arriving at the circuit through the night, the contest was red flagged twice – for the first time in its history – when conditions deteriorated.

Linus drove the Precision Performance Motorsport (PPM) Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO masterfully despite competing in single-seaters last year, and the BRDC British Formula 3 Champion was immediately on the pace during the race and able to hold his own amongst factory-backed professional drivers in other GTD-class cars.

After a busy autograph session and driver and car presentation on Saturday morning, Don Yount, who qualified the car, climbed back behind the wheel at 14:35, for the 57th running of the Rolex 24. Linus suited up after the opening two stints and completed a significant career milestone, his first racing laps around the 31-degree banking of Daytona International Speedway.

The current BRDC British Formula 3 Champion was immediately on the pace and able to hold his own amongst factory backed professional drivers in the other cars. Completing a double stint with no problems, Linus returned to the pits and handed over to his colleagues. Unfortunately, the car stuck in gear at around 22:20 and had to be towed back to the garage. A faulty clutch was identified and the team worked swiftly to replace the part, returning to the track just three-and-a-half hours later.

Getting back onboard the car at 06:00 on Sunday morning, Linus could only circulate behind the Safety Car before the race was red flagged almost 90-minutes later. After this point there was little action on track as any racing laps were quickly curtailed by incidents and yellow flag periods before once again being halted at 13:00 and called for good 15 minutes before the 24 hours were due to expire.

The final results show that after a trying debut for Linus and the team at PPM they were classified 20th in class but most of all, after everything that had been thrown at them, they finished the race which, given the extreme conditions, was a result in itself.

“My first 24-hour race is complete,” said Linus. “It’s maybe not the way I would have wanted it to end as I only got to do one double stint and the rest of the time was spent behind the Safety Car. We had an issue with the clutch, but the team did an incredible job to fix it and I’m really happy with the way the guys came together so a massive thanks to them for that.

“It’s a dream come true. Looking back twelve months ago I wasn’t even sure I was going to be racing. It’s an incredible journey and to be able to stand here aged 19 and say that I’ve finished my first Rolex 24 is pretty amazing and I hope that one day we can come back. This is one of the biggest prizes to win in motorsport and an incredible experience that I will carry throughout my life not just my racing career.”

“It’s the tenth year of the Sunoco Challenge and it’s incredible when you look back and see the kind of winners we’ve had,” said Anders Hildebrand, Managing Director of the Anglo American Oil Company. “What’s amazing is that every year our winners do so well and never put a foot wrong in extremely difficult conditions.

“Linus didn’t make one single mistake. He came from British Formula 3 and it’s difficult to go from a very stiff, very responsive single seater to a much heavier, softer GT car, but he took to it like a duck to water and it has impressed me and the team a lot.”

Daytona debutants look forward to new Challenge

2019 Sunoco Challenge winners Linus Lundquist and Kyle Reid are set to make their racing debuts at the world-famous Daytona International Speedway this weekend (January 24-27) for the Rolex 24.

Having taken part in the Roar Before The 24 earlier this month, both have now turned their first laps around the 31-degree banking and challenging infield course, but this weekend will be the first real test, with practice, qualifying, and the races held over three packed days.

Linus Lindqvist battles torrential rain in the #47 Precision Performance Motorsports (PPM) Lamborghini Huracan GT3, GTD at the 2019 Roar Before the Rolex 24.

Linus, making Sunoco Whelen Challenge history as the first winner to climb aboard a car in the competitive GTD class of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, will be carrying the flag for the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship as reigning Champion. He will have just under two hours of practice in which to acclimatise, while sharing his Precision Performance Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo with three other teammates, before qualifying takes place on Thursday afternoon.

Kyle Reid takes to the famous 31-degree banking in the #26 Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW M4 GT4 in the 2019 Roar Before the Rolex 24.

Kyle, the latest Sunoco 240 Challenge winner, represents Mini Challenge as the Cooper Pro class Champion, and will be competing aboard a Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW M4 GT4 in the BMW Endurance Challenge At Daytona, branded in the classic Sunoco blue colour scheme. Like Linus, Kyle will also have around two hours of track time, shared with his teammates, before qualifying later on Thursday.

The action picks up on Friday, January 25, as the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge At Daytona takes place, before the main event, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, on Saturday for 24 gruelling hours of racing. Both drivers’ progress will be covered on Sunoco UK’s social media channels (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook)

Linus Lundqvist, Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner 

“We did a few laps and felt more comfortable in the car during the Roar Before the 24. It was interesting to see our rivals’ speed and compare where we stand. The circuit is not too technical, but it is a learning process with the team and how endurance racing works, so we’ll see how things unfold.

“I’d like to think my experience with aero in BRDC British Formula 3 has helped me with the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO. It’s heavy and different to drive, especially with ABS and traction control, but it is fun, and I am looking forward to taking part in the Rolex 24.”

Kyle Reid, Sunoco 240 Challenge winner

“It was an awesome experience at the Roar Before The 24. The guys gave me an opportunity to do a qualifying run in practice so hopefully I get to qualify the car for the race itself. It was a great learning experience with a new team, new track, and new car. I felt I improved every session and the team were happy with me.

“Hopefully we can improve towards the race. The times kept falling and we think the time will come to us before the race and we’ll be right on the pace.”

Dual milestone celebration for Sunoco Whelen Challenge at Daytona

With the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona rapidly approaching, the Anglo American Oil Company (AAOC) is celebrating two key milestones with its successful Sunoco Whelen Challenge.

This year is not only the tenth in which the winner of the Challenge will receive a drive in the prestigious 24-Hour contest around Daytona International Speedway, but also the fifth in partnership with Whelen Engineering, which funds the seat thanks to the generosity of owner Sonny Whelen.

Derek Johnston was the first Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner, taking part in the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona

In recognition of the generosity of Sonny, AAOC makes annual donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, though its Team Fox fundraising platform. The Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today.

“Parkinson’s is an incurable degenerative brain disease,” said Sonny Whelen. “When you have Parkinson’s, the cells in your brain that create dopamine start to die off. That dopamine is basically like a grease for your car. Without it the wheels, the hinges, are going to get tight, and not move as well. You end up a bit like the tin-man in The Wizard of Oz.

“The good news is, you die with it not from it. It’s something you can continue to live with, and still do a lot of the things you want to do. I became involved with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, because it’s devoted to finding a cure, seeking better therapies and funding the research that needs to be done.”

Felipe Nasr races past the Sunoco sign in the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona, en route to third place.

For 2019, AAOC has produced a very limited number of desktop calendars celebrating ten years of the Sunoco Whelen Challenge, which are available to anyone who kindly donates at least $10 to its fundraising page. If you would like to contribute, please visit the following link:

https://fundraise.michaeljfox.org/tf-2019/SunocoWhelenChallenge

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.