Johnathan Hoggard claims Sunoco Whelen Challenge and drive at Daytona

After a thrilling season-long battle, Johnathan Hoggard has secured the Sunoco Whelen Challenge and with it a dream drive in the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona, courtesy of Whelen Engineering Inc and the Anglo American Oil Company Ltd.

Consistently quick throughout the year in the competitive BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, Johnathan not only took seven victories – more than anyone else – but also seven pole positions and eight fastest laps, all of which propelled him to Challenge success.

The 18-year old not only follows Linus Lundqvist, who won the Sunoco Whelen Challenge in 2018 after racing in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, but also joins names such as Jonny Adam, Felipe Nasr, Seb Morris, and Phil Keen in a funded seat at the prestigious race.

It will be Johnathan’s first drive in endurance racing, but he will no doubt prove himself quick around the 5.73km sports car configuration of the famous Daytona International Speedway.

The prize drive is courtesy of the generosity of Sonny Whelen, who has helped a number of European racers make a name for themselves in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

While Johnathan becomes the 11th Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner, it is all still to play for in the Sunoco 240 Challenge, where a number of competitors are in contention for a drive in the BMW Endurance Challenge contest, held before the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The Anglo American Oil Company donates the entry fee from all Challenge hopefuls, as well as donations from members of the public, to Team Fox for Parkinson’s Research, a worthy cause.

Final Sunoco Whelen Challenge standings (average points per race):

Johnathan Hoggard: 91.56
Clement Novalak: 79.38
Ayrton Simmonds: 74.06
Jonny Cocker: 71.00
Seb Priaulx: 61.65

Johnathan Hoggard, 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner

“I’ve watched the Rolex 24 for many years with drivers like Fernando Alonso and Felipe Nasr racing, so to be in it is a great opportunity and I am really thankful for it.

“I enjoy watching endurance racing; it’s a completely different style of competing. It isn’t just about outright speed it’s also about calculations, strategy, and things like that. It’s going to be a great experience.

“I wasn’t expecting to win the Challenge to be honest. Halfway through the season I was fourth or fifth, so those pole positions and fastest laps really can change the whole challenge around.

“It’s great what Whelen Engineering and the Anglo American Oil Company are doing with this drive they give away. I can’t thank them enough. It is great they are donating the prize.”

Anders Hildebrand, Anglo American Oil Company Ltd

“What has been impressive about Johnathan this year is that he is always quick. When he is on song, he gets fastest laps, pole positions, and wins, and that is how the Challenge points system is built; You have to be consistent to win, but you get a boost for the fastest laps and poles.

“If you are going to be a top-notch racer you have to be able to qualify and put in fast laps when needed, so I think he will be a very good ambassador for the Sunoco Whelen Challenge.

“He follows in the footsteps of Felipe Nasr and Linus Lundqvist, who won the prize last year. It is nice to see how a Formula 3 driver can jump into a GT3 or DPi and be on the pace straight away and I think Johnathan will show us what he is made of at Daytona.”

To find out more about Team Fox, is the grassroots community fundraising program of The Michael J. Fox Foundation, please visit: https://www.michaeljfox.org/teamfox

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

Thrilling season-long battle for once-in-a-lifetime Daytona drive comes down to Donington Decider

The Sunoco Whelen Challenge will come down to the wire at Donington Park in two weeks’ time (September 14/15), as a three-way battle to race at the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona will finally be settled.

Clement Novalak and Johnathan Hoggard, both front-runners in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, have consistently been at the sharp end of the Challenge standings this season. However, Ayrton Simmons has been within touching distance of the top spot with a consistent run of late, coupled with outstanding weekends at Spa and Silverstone.

The three drivers are separated by just five average points heading into the final two races, so a strong or disappointing weekend could swing things one final time. Currently, with the lead, Hoggard simply has to maximise his performance to remain on top, which is exactly what the teenager will be trying to do as he attempts to overhaul a 52-point gap in the BRDC F3 standings.

Novalak, meanwhile, is in an interesting position. Needing to simply stay in touch with Hoggard to ensure he remains on top of the championship would net him the BRDC F3 title but would not be enough to vault him back into top spot in the Sunoco Whelen Challenge. Therefore, he cannot rest if he wants to compete at the Daytona International Speedway in January.

For Simmons, things are clearer. He needs to top the times in qualifying to tie Hoggard in the Jack Cavill Pole Position cup, and with a 61-point deficit to Novalak in the championship, also needs a strong weekend to cause an upset. If he can achieve this then he could just steal the Challenge title in the process.

Whatever way it pans out at Donington Park in September, it has definitely been another fantastic Sunoco Whelen Challenge with three talented young drivers aiming to emulate 2018 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship victor Linus Lundqvist in appearing in the legendary Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Johnathan Hoggard, first place, 85.36 average points

“The BRDC British Formula 3 Championship is going well and I’m currently leading the Sunoco Whelen Challenge too. I am looking forward to seeing how it is going to pan out. I have been quite good at getting pole positions and points for fastest laps in the races so I’m looking forward to the final rounds of the season at Donington Park.

“Winning would be a good opportunity. Racing at Daytona would be different to driving a single-seater and having never raced in America it would be a great experience and open up a lot of opportunities. I want to win the drive and I’m going to give it my everything.”

Clement Novalak, second place, 82.14 average points

“It would be a cracking experience to drive around Daytona and race for 24 Hours. It would mean a lot, obviously, but we have to finish the work here first. We have been very consistent this season, with a few wins and lots of podiums, so hopefully we can keep doing that.

“Finishing the year on top would make me happy. Winning the Challenge would give you lots of exposure and people look at you as a driver for the future whether in the States or Europe. Winning the championship and the Challenge would help me move forwards to next year. It puts your name on the map wherever you are.”

Ayrton Simmons, third place, 80.36 points

“The step up from Formula 4 has been good. I think I have adapted well to a new car and some new circuits, so I am looking forward to the end of the season.

“The Sunoco Whelen Challenge is something I keep an eye on every weekend because it has an important prize at the end of it. Going to the States and racing there would put your name on the map. I haven’t raced in the US before so it would be cool to see how things work out there. I’m going to be pushing to get that Daytona drive and I’ll be giving it my all.”

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

Summer shake up for Sunoco Challenges as Goodman and Simmons make progress

Once again, It is all change at the top of the Sunoco Whelen Challenge and Sunoco 240 Challenge standings, with only a few points separating the top of both after an enthralling few weeks of racing.

It is still almost impossible to tell who will come out on top to win those Rolex 24 At Daytona and BMW Endurance Challenge At Daytona drives as the thrilling battles to lead the standings continue.

Sunoco Whelen Challenge: Simmons remains in contention

BRDC British Formula 3 Championship drivers continue to remain the focal point of the Sunoco Whelen Challenge. Series leader Clement Novalak returns to the top of the standings thanks to a podium finish in Belgium.

Hot on his heels is rival Ayrton Simmons who had an outstanding weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, taking a win, a podium, and two pole positions, which puts him right back in contention with only one and a half average points separating him and Clement.

A difficult weekend for Johnathan Hoggard has pushed him into third place despite his perfect point-scoring weekend at Donington Park, but a strong trip to Brands Hatch could change that quite quickly. Jonny Cocker, in the British GT Championship, is only two average points behind Johnathan after he finished seventh in GT3 at Spa, with Seb Priaulx fifth after a sixth-place finish in GT4 in the same contest.

Click here for the complete Sunoco Whelen Challenge standings.

Sunoco 240 Challenge: Carey remains on top whilst Goodman jumps to third.

It could not be closer in the Sunoco 240 Challenge where Cian Carey holds onto the lead despite no track action over the last few weeks. However, it remains an extremely tight fight for the top spot as Robbie Dalgleish closed the gap to Cian with only 1.96 average points between the pair after the Mini Challenge Cooper Pro driver stood on each step of the podium in three races at Brands Hatch.

Toby Goodman has vaulted himself into third place after a superb weekend in Kent as well. He took two wins and a third place, as well as a pole position, to move 0.12 average points ahead of Dominik Jackson, who bounced back from a DNF in race one at Oulton Park to take a win and second place in the Radical Challenge Championship, keeping his hopes alive.

Another driver on the move is British GT Championship competitor Kelvin Fletcher. He leaps ahead of Scott McKenna, who has not raced in the previous few weeks. Just five average points cover fifth to 11th in the standings, so a strong weekend for Jerome De Sadeleer, Nathan Harrison, Rob Keogh, James Gornall, or Alastair Barclay will bring them right back into the mix.

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

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

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

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.”

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.

“Super Swede” Lundqvist Joins Precision Performance Motorsports New Lamborghini Huracan GTD Evo For Daytona Rolex 24 Hours

Christmas Has Come Early For The Young “Super Swede” Joining Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GTD For Daytona Rolex 24 Hours

Anglo American Oil Company Ltd, distributors for Sunoco Race Fuels, are today delighted to announce that Linus Lundqvist, winner of this season’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge, will be joining Precision Performance Motorsport, for the 24 Hours of Daytona, January 26-27, 2019.

2018 British BRDC F3 Champion Linus Lundqvist will be driving in the all new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo in the GT Daytona class.

AAOC Managing Director, Anders Hildebrand explained the reason for the team and class selection, “When the first Sunoco Daytona Challenge was put together by Anglo American Oil Company it was thanks to the support of Jim France who wanted to increase the international awareness of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Today, ten years later it seems ridiculous that the Rolex 24 star-packed grid has not always been a massive international race on the bucket list of every racing driver.

The Sunoco Daytona and Whelen Challenge winners have brought talent, speed and excitement to the race and not disappointed the teams they raced for. 2018 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Stuart Middleton bettered Felipe Nasr’s Challenge winners’ previous third place record by taking the chequered flag in second overall – quite a feat!

For the last four years, thanks to support from Sonny Whelen of Whelen Engineering, we have been placing the Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner in the #31 Whelen sponsored Action Express run Cadillac DPi race car. However, with the increasing level of competitiveness in the top class we feel that the pressure imposed on our winner will take out the enjoyment of this, maybe once in a lifetime experience. Sonny and I therefore decided for 2019 that we should place our winner in the GTD (GT3) class which has a mix of PRO and AM drivers and a class that would really make our Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner shine.

Our tenth Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner and 2018 British F3 Champion Linus Lundqvist was amazing in the British F3 Championship. Having followed him and seen him race this season I’m confident that he will do us proud with his race craft and speed. 

I’m extremely pleased that we are going to race with the North Carolina based Lamborghini race team Precision Performance Motorsports. I’ve worked with Team Manager Sunny Voelker previously through the Sunoco 240 Challenge programme and know she runs a very good team. I’m also super confident that Linus will do extremely well behind the wheel of the new Lamborghini GT3 Evo and maybe, maybe we could better Stuart’s last year record by winning the class!”.

Precision Performance Motorsports Team Manager, Sunny Voelker said, “Having a talented young driver like Linus join our Rolex 24 driver line-up is a massive win for PPM and complements our focus on driver development, and of course it’s an honour to campaign the long-standing Sunoco Whelen Challenge program. “.

A delighted Lundqvist added, “I am really excited to have everything confirmed, I can’t wait to get on that plane and fly across the Atlantic to race in the States for the first time. It’s going to be a real adventure! I’m super happy to be given the trust and opportunity to drive the Lamborghini GT3 Evo for Precision Performance Motorsports at Daytona! It will be a lot to learn considering it will be my first endurance race but I’m going to do my best and try to learn and enjoy it as much as possible. I also want to say a special thank you to Sonny Whelen, because without him and Whelen Engineering, this opportunity wouldn’t be possible.  Also, a big thank you to Eva and Anders Hildebrand and everyone at Anglo American Oil Company Ltd. I’m super proud to be one of the Sunoco Whelen Challenge Winners.”

Precision Performance Motorsports Team Overview:

Precision Performance Motorsports has established itself as a leader in the sport on and off the track. 2019 will mark the 16th year of full-time operation. They operate the race team as a business with a focus on accountability and results, while building long-term partnerships with drivers and sponsors through open and honest communication and by learning more about their objectives. PPM previously fielded race cars in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and K&N Pro Series. Currently PPM fields sports cars in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Pirelli World Challenge and WeatherTech series. PPM provides a comprehensive driver development program, race car rentals, setup, test consultation, and driver coaching. Current inventory includes 4 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evos and 2 Lamborghini GT3.

PPM joins IMSA WeatherTech family with Lamborghini Huracan GT3

With their first successful season of sports car racing behind them, Precision Performance Motorsports (PPM) has made the commitment to take the next step up the ladder with Lamborghini Squadra Corse and will campaign a brand-new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo in the GT Daytona class of IMSA’s WeatherTech Championship. The fresh machinery is slated to run both the Endurance and Sprint Championships.

“We had a really great year in 2018, which, in turn, has garnered a lot of positive attention and interest,” says Team Owner, Rick Gdovic. “Naturally, we have to grow our program with that interest. We felt it best to continue putting our energy, focus, and commitment into racing with Lamborghini. We’ll continue with Super Trofeo, as I feel that is one of the best racing platforms in the paddock and with the strong partnership and support of Lamborghini, we’ll also take the step up to WeatherTech and GTD in 2019.”

PPM has been racing for 16 years, primarily in NASCAR ranks, operating out of their 16,000 sq. ft. shop in China Grove, NC; outside of the racing capital of America, Charlotte, NC. 2018 was the team’s first year contesting sports car racing. Their inaugural sports car campaign included 3 overall pole positions, 1 overall win, multiple podiums in the Pro, Pro-Am, and Am classes of Super Trofeo, a GT3 podium in the SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge, and a track record at Road America.

“We have a great team made up of some very talented people who have shown we can put together a high quality, competitive race program. I have full confidence with Team Manager, Sunny Voelker at the helm that we can do bigger and better things in 2019 with Lamborghini.” finished Gdovic.

PPM’s driver line-ups for both WeatherTech GTD and Super Trofeo will be announced shortly. PPM has driving and sponsorship opportunities for both Super Trofeo and GTD races for 2019 available.

The first event for IMSA’s WeatherTech Championship is the illustrious 24 Hours of Daytona, January 26-27, 2019. Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America kicks off at the breath-taking Barber Motorsports Park April 5-7, 2019.

 

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!”