Sunoco 240 Challenge Is Still All To Play For

Sunoco 240 Challenge Up For Grabs!!

It’s crunch time in the 2019 Sunoco Whelen and 240 Challenges, both of which could be decided in the next 10 days when the remaining contenders compete in BRDC British F3, British GT, Mini Cooper Challenge and Radical UK Challenge events around the UK.

The driver who will compete in the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona’s official support race could also be decided on September 29/30 when leading contenders from Mini Challenge Cooper and Radical UK Challenge go head-to-head at Rockingham.

Kyle Reid has looked untouchable for much of the season after making a fast start, but as his average reduces with every less-than-perfect weekend so the consistency of Steve Burgess becomes ever more apparent. The pair are now separated by just 4.28 points ahead of Reid’s final three Cooper races at Rockingham, while Burgess and title rival Dominik Jackson – himself 11.7 points shy of the 240 top spot – also have another Radical round to come at Silverstone on October 13/14.

If Reid continues to maintain his current average per race score, Burgess must outscore Reid by 10.9 points per race. Jackson meanwhile needs a 29 point swing per race over Reid, and an 18.3 points per race swing to overhaul Burgess, to claim the 240 Challenge at the final Radical event at Silverstone in October.

There is a final potential twist in this intriguing battle for the 240 Challenge – if both Reid and Burgess gain the perfect score in all their remaining races, Burgess will snatch the prize by 0.38 points.

NEW Sunoco Challenge – TV Show

The first of the NEW monthly Sunoco Challenge programmes with Peter Windsor and guests launched this week.

The monthly programme will follow the Sunoco Challenge, news and driver updates and much more as the competition heats up and the ultimate prize of a drive at Daytona gets even closer.

The full-length (30min) show is also available on-demand on www.motorsport.tv and watchable on the mobile app (apple and android)

 

 

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 Remain On Course For Sunoco Challenge Titles

Linus Lundqvist tightened his grip on this year’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps where the BRDC Formula 3 Championship was joined by British GT. Meanwhile, at Oulton Park, Kyle Reid’s march towards Sunoco’s 240 Challenge was slowed only slightly during the latest Mini Challenge Cooper and JCW rounds.

Whelen: Lundqvist’s Competition To Lose

Linus Lundqvist’s lead now stands at a very healthy 14 points after two victories helped maintain his 102-point season average.

By contrast, Phil Keen scored just 55 points during his British GT3 outing in Belgium, which cut his overall average by 4.58 to 88. That might have been enough to retain second overall but the Barwell driver now requires an exceptional end to his 2018 campaign and a dip in Lundqvist’s form if he’s to become the first-ever two-time Sunoco Challenge winner.

Troubled weekends for several other British GT3 Pros and F3 drivers has allowed Radical European Masters racer Stuart Moseley to move back up to third. However, he will be relying on bigger grids next time out if he’s to apply serious pressure on Keen and Lundqvist ahead.

Lundqvist’s bid for this season’s British F3 crown and Sunoco Whelen Challenge Rolex 24 At Daytona prize drive both benefitted from a poor weekend for Nicolai Kjaergaard who’s now unlikely to recover from his current 68-point season average, while British GT3 Pro team-mates Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim also saw their slim chances effectively ended at Spa. The TF Sport pair are separated by just 0.79 points in fifth and sixth, the latter a position Thiim now shares with British GT title rival and former Whelen winner Jonny Adam.

Yelmer Buurman and Kush Maini both remain inside the top-10 and one place ahead of new British GT4 Championship leader Jack Mitchell whose consecutive class victories have helped improve his season’s average no end.

240: Reid Gives Rivals A Glimmer Of Hope

Kyle Reid’s supreme start to the season ensured even a slight wobble would impact on his high average score, and so it proved for the first time in 2018 at Oulton Park. Nevertheless, extra points for Race 2 pole position and victory ensured his overall score remains a still formidable 116.67.

That’s 14.59 more than Radical Challenge racer Steve Burgess, who wasn’t in action last weekend, and another 3.51 ahead of Mini Challenge JCW championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales who rocketed from eighth to third after improving his average by more than 10 points.

Dominic Jackson, just like Radical rival Burgess, has another chance to make inroads into Reid’s advantage next weekend, while Mini Challenge JCW duo Nathan Harrison and Jordan Collard complete the top-six with 90 and 88.57 points, respectively.

Kelvin Fletcher has slipped from fourth to seventh despite finishing second in British GT4’s Pro/Am class. Robbie Dalgleish (Mini Challenge Cooper), Jon Minshaw (British GT3 Am) and Rob Smith (Mini Challenge JCW) complete the top-10.

Lundqvist & Reid Gear Up For Crunch Sunoco Challenge Weekends

There’s been little change at the top of both Sunoco Challenge standings despite two bumper weekends featuring myriad Whelen and 240-eligible series.

Instead, attention has switched to Spa-Francorchamps and Oulton Park on July 21/22 when both competitions’ current front-runners – Linus Lundqvist and Kyle Reid – continue their respective BRDC British F3 and Mini Challenge Cooper campaigns.

However, that’s not to say recent events have had no impact at all on the pursuit of a fully-funded seat in 2019’s Rolex 24 At Daytona and its official 240-mile GT4 support race.

Indeed, the senior Sunoco Whelen Challenge now appears a two-horse contest between current leader Lundqvist and 2015 winner Phil Keen – currently 9.92 points behind – following Stuart Moseley’s frustrating Radical European Masters outing at the Hungaroring last weekend.

 

Moseley once again demonstrated his undoubted pace en route to a brace of victories, another podium, two pole positions and one fastest lap. However, an entry comprising just five cars meant far fewer marks were available for each of those achievements, which reduced his overall season’s average by almost 10 points. Thus, Moseley’s new 75.89-point total is not only 26.61 lower than Lundqvist’s current benchmark but also only good enough for fifth overall.

The two beneficiaries, Nicolai Kjaergaard and Nicki Thiim, ensure that British F3 and British GT3 Pro drivers now lock out the overall top-four, as well as filling positions six to nine. Patrik Matthiesen is the best placed British GT4 Pro in 10th, while Brad Smith remains LMP3 Cup’s leading contender in 15th despite another low turnout at Spa two weeks ago.

It’s a similar story in the Sunoco 240 Challenge where runaway leader Kyle Reid must continue his incredible start to the Mini Challenge Cooper campaign at Spa next weekend if he’s to once again strengthen an already significant advantage.

The SCK Motorsport driver’s lead has actually increased in recent weeks after both Steve Burgess and Dominic Jackson failed to make inroads during their Radical UK Challenge outing at Spa. Their respective deficits now stand at 21.49 and 26.9 points ahead of Reid’s upcoming assignment at Oulton Park.

A host of leading British GT3 and GT4 Am drivers will also be competing simultaneously at Spa-Francorchamps where Kelvin Fletcher will be eager to continue his recent climb up the rankings. Fletcher has been British GT4’s standout amateur in recent rounds and now lies less than 10 points behind Jackson in fourth.

Robbie Dalgleish has the power to boost his own 240 score while taking points out of Cooper rival Reid when he also visits Oulton Park, while Jon Minshaw is best placed of British GT3’s Am contingent in sixth overall.

Relentless Reid Retains Sizeable 240 Challenge Lead At Silverstone

Kyle Reid maintained his stranglehold on this year’s Sunoco 240 Challenge last weekend at Silverstone where a further victory, fastest lap and pole positions helped Mini Challenge Cooper Pro’s runaway leader remain on course for a fully-funded GT4 seat in the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona’s support race.

With the next round of Sunoco Whelen Challenge-eligible series not in action until early July, all eyes were on Silverstone where both the Mini Challenge Cooper Pro and F3 Cup championships had assembled for their latest 240 outings.

Reid arrived at the event on 124 points, 21.78 more than nearest rival Steve Burgess whose tricky recent Radical Challenge UK appearance at Spa had helped the Mini ace inherit a comfortable advantage.

Reid’s season average was so good – drivers can accumulate a maximum 140 points per race – that only a similarly strong showing at Silverstone would keep him on course for the highest score in the competition’s 10-year history. And although he was beaten for the first time this year, a victory to go with second place, two pole positons and a fastest lap meant his overall total was trimmed by just 0.43 points.

Race 2 victory went to Robbie Dalgleish, whose earlier podium and fastest lap also helped increase his season’s average by more than five points. That vaulted the JRD Motors driver up to fifth overall behind Dominic Jackson (Radical Challenge UK) and Kelvin Fletcher (British GT4 Am).

F3 Cup’s unpredictable season also continued at Silverstone where the spread of winners, podium finishers, pole positons and fastest laps again prevented a leading Sunoco 240 Challenge contender from emerging.

Stuart Wiltshire started and ended the weekend as the championship’s best placed representative, albeit seven positions and 11.5 points lower than where he started after only scoring points for two podiums. On the flipside two wins and a fastest lap helped Cian Carey jump 20 places to 14th, while former front-runner Shane Kelly is one spot further back after suffering another inconsistent outing.

Reid Keeps Racking Up The Points

Cooper Race 1

A superb race which settled down to the top 3 racing each other. Kyle leading for most of the race up until the lap 10 when both Simon Walton and Robbie Dalgleish passed him. Kyle re-took the lead on the next lap. Fingernail biting to watch. Kyle’s race craft clearly showing, track position and calm overtaking with late braking. the fastest lap going to Robbie Dalgleish.

The Am class was also great to watch as Alex Nevill and Andy Godfrey were lapping very tightly. Andy getting the lead on the 4th lap only to lose it 2 laps later. Meanwhile, Adrian Norman was driving like a seasoned pro to claim 3rd place. Fastest lap in the class went to Andy.

Cooper Race 2

The reverse grid had the 1st 6 places reversed. This left Kyle way down the field in P6. Could his unbeaten run finally come to an end? Andy Jordan was in pole position, next to Richard Newman. Jacob Andrews got a great start from P3 and led the race for the first 3 laps. Robbie Dalgleish, the race winner, clearly had a race win on his mind as he took the led on the 3rd lap. Meanwhile, it was all a bit untidy as Kyle was climbing through the front 5. P3 on the 2nd lap only to take a grassy moment and slip down to P5 on the 5th lap. He finally made it back to P2. Simon Walton was keeping them both honest and crossed the line in P3.

In the Am class, it was the usual 3 slugging away. Having a great race. Andy Godfrey leading the class for the first few laps to finally giving the place to Alex Nevill. Neal Clarke was in P3, making up for his non-finish in the earlier race. Adrian Norman was way down the track and had a P4, some 8 seconds behind Neal.

A great end to the racing in the Cooper class, exciting and full of surprises. Not 1 red flag and very few waved yellows.

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.

 

 

First Win Of The Season For Collard & Smith In JCW’s

Jordan Collard took his first win of the 2018 MINI Challenge JCW campaign at Silverstone. The MINI UK VIP driver was on-form and fought his way back to the lead despite a poor start off the line.

A clean opening sector was soon shattered when a number of cars found each other at Club. George Sutton punctured his rear tyres but limped back to the pits without losing a lap, but retirements for Rory Cuff and Steve King brought out the safety car.

Despite starting third, Ant Whorton-Eales made a lightning start, taking the lead into the first corner, controlling the restart, as polesitter Collard hounded the leader. The threat was soon eradicated though as Collard’s failed overtake into Club put him behind Nathan Harrison and into chasing pack.

Ant failed to break away though, as Collard came back, retaking the lead into Luffield. This closed up the group with Rob Smith and Jac Maybin making up the leading quintet.

Collard though finally got his break, pulling away in the final two laps to take the win by 1.8 seconds. Rounding out the podium would be Whorton-Eales and Harrison, with the trio now establishing themselves as the championship leaders.

Smith would lead home Maybin with the latter continuing his strong run of results from Snetterton. Rounding out the top eight would be Ollie Pidgley, some five seconds behind, as he held off Louis Doyle and Jack Davidson.

“I think I did the most I could, putting it on pole gets me a few extra points.” said Collard. “I knew Ant was going to be quick so I had to finish in front of him. He’s grown a few points on me in the championship recently, but the next few weekends I hope I can draw some back and make it closer at the front.”

“Ant’s one of those rare drivers that’s hard but very clean, we must have been side-by-side for about half a lap. It was a ‘close your eyes and hold your breath’ moment, but overall it was a mega race.”

Race 2

In a shortened second MINI Challenge – JCW race at Silverstone, it would be Rob Smith who survived the affair to come out on top, taking his first win of the year with MINI UK VIP.

The second MINI race of the weekend started with a dramatic circumstances as Jac Maybin hit Ollie Pidgley on their formation lap. Maybin broke his front right tyre and was out almost immediately while Pidgley was forced to start from the pits, with rear left damage.

Even with the missing second row, the start was still a dramatic affair, as Jack Davidson after taking the lead into the first corner, lost control at Maggots, spinning into the gravel. This upset Jordan Collard behind, with the MINI UK car taking a trip across the grass at Becketts.

Polesitter Brad Hutchinson didn’t have it any easier either, dropping back behind the charging Smith as he too fell into the pack.

With an extended safety car, the race came down to a final lap shootout, as Smith held on to his advantage for his first win of the year. It proved to be a surprisingly regular podium set as Ant Whorton-Eales led home rival Nathan Harrison due to both avoided the drama in the opening lap.

Despite his off, Collard charged from eighth to fourth in the final lap ahead of Henry Neal, who will pleased to have recovered after his disaster of a Saturday. Lewis Brown started outside the top ten, but eventually moved up to sixth ahead of Hutchinson as David Robinson rounded out the top eight.

Jackson Cleans Up in Thrilling Spa-Francorchamps Encounters

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – Sunday 10 June 2018; Dominik Jackson walks away from the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit as a triple Radical Challenge race winner, coming out on top of an insanely close three-way battle to the flag for the final spoils of the Radical Festival weekend in Belgium.

After a smooth getaway for the last 40-minute endurance showdown, Jim Booth streaked ahead in the Invitational SR8 class, leaving Jackson to take the Challenge lead. Marcello Marateotto made the most of a run wide from Steve Burgess at La Source to take second ahead of Jérôme de Sadeleer and Brian Caudwell, leaving Burgess to slot into fifth.

While Jackson streaked away in a bid to negate his forthcoming maximum success pit stop penalty, all eyes turned to the battle for second when an excursion from Caudwell at Pouhon on lap three released Burgess to chase down the front runners.

An intense four-way battle unfolded but as Marateotto and Burgess diced coming out of La Source on lap six, de Sadeleer pulled off an awesome move to take them both through Eau Rouge. As Burgess remained stuck behind Marateotto, Team Challenge driver Tom Gladdis joined the fray for third in Challenge, Burgess and Gladdis regularly swapping order as they explored every opportunity to pass the Italian ahead of the stops.

With class leader Jackson, de Sadeleer and Burgess all to serve success second penalties in the pit stop cycle, Marateotto moved into the outright and class lead ahead of his RAW Motorsports teammates, Jackson and Burgess.

From there, the RAW trio fought hammer and tong to the chequered flag, dicing millimetres apart and changing order every tour. In the end it all came down to the final lap, Jackson finally finding a way around Marateotto’s robust defence in a move that started at the Bus Stop and concluded at La Source. Then a spin from Burgess at Bruxelles in turn delayed Marateotto, leaving Jackson to sprint to the flag. But the story didn’t end there.

Post-race penalties for short stops for both Marateotto and Burgess promoted Jim Booth to second overall and the Invitational class win, in turn shooting de Sadeleer up to second in Challenge. Kristian Jeffrey completed the podium slots after a solid run from 13th on the grid.

Mark Crader rounded out a strong weekend with fourth in class, comfortably ahead of John MacLeod, while Marateotto then completed the Challenge top six.

Peter Tyler built on teammate Gladdis’ stellar opening stint to take their second Team Challenge win of the day.

Challenge driver quotes:

Dominik Jackson: “That was one of the best races I’ve ever been involved in. Having the 20 second [success] penalty made it particularly hard. I managed to come out on top of a very, very close battle with Marcello [Marateotto] and Steve [Burgess]. It was as close as you get without ending up in the wall, but it was fair. Very good fun but very challenging. During the first half of the race I just kept putting in times as though I was in a qualifying session and I couldn’t do anymore than that. I just kept my head down and hoped I’d see the right car behind me when I came out of the pits. It’s been a fantastic weekend and we’ll crack on to Oulton Park.”

Jérôme de Sadeleer: “I had a perfect drive in my eyes for race three so I was really excited. I had the success penalty that put me behind a couple of guys [Marateotto and Burgess], but I heard they got penalties so I got bumped up to second place. I kind of feel like I deserved it because that drive was a very strong one – I didn’t make any mistakes and kept pushing, kept being focused. Being at Spa and getting two podiums is a dream come true. This is amazing. The car, I’m really starting to get used to it, to be able to drive it on its limit, to be able to set it up properly with the guys. It can only get better from here on.”

Kristian Jeffrey: “This was a really difficult one. In race two we couldn’t downshift so I was hoping the car was working on the warmup lap. The crew came together to strip the car and put everything back together in time so kudos to them. I didn’t expect to be on the podium coming from 13th. I think Steve [Burgess] and Marcello [Marateotto] had some penalties but we’ll take the gift. It’s good for the championship and points. I’m always knocking on the door for podiums, two this weekend, hopefully I can challenge for the win in the coming rounds.”