McClughan in BMW Perf 200

31st January 2016. Daytona

Paddy McClughan won his prize drive at Daytona as a result of multiple fastest laps and pole positions when he drove in the Radical Sprint Championship during the 2015 race season. He then made his first trip to Daytona International Speedway just a couple of weeks ago when he visited for the ROAR Before the Rolex 24 to test the Racers Edge Motorsports No.16 Sunoco liveried Mustang.

16-09.jpegWhilst at the ROAR, Paddy experienced not only his debut drive in America, but also his first drive at Daytona International Speedway, and in the Racers Edge Motorsports Sunoco Mustang. Driving with team-mate Chris Beaufait, it was decided that with Paddy’s speed he would drive the car second in the race. This set-up carried throughout the ROAR weekend where they finished on a high when Paddy achieved an impressive 1:58.970 lap time. His first time in V8 muscle car, and he handled it like a pro!

Then earlier this week Paddy McClughan made the trip back out to the States and was raring to drive the No. 16 Sunoco Mustang. The team were well prepared, and ran well in the practice sessions with Paddy bringing his times within 3 seconds of the leading racers. The lap times were much slower as a result of the weather, not very in-keeping with what we would expect in Florida - rain for two days, combined with increased traffic on the grid.

16-02.jpgDespite this lack of practice, everyone was ready for the qualifying session, however, the weather got worse and rain meant the track was wet, but Paddy’s team-mate Chris Beaufait qualified the car safely on rain tyres in P6. This was a good position for the team to start in and they were then excited for race day the next day.



The sun came up on Friday morning, and we were just as excited as Paddy McClughan to see him drive in the Racers Edge Motorsports No. 16 Sunoco liveried Ford Mustang in the BMW Performance 200. The team were impressed with his performance throughout the week, and at 1.45pm (ET), Paddy’s team mate, Chris Beaufait, started his engine, and after some quick warm up laps, the race began! 

Unfortunately, less than 20 minutes in, the car was back in the pits to replace all four tyres due to a puncture at the bus stop chicane. This was a blow for the team, but they replaced the tyres quickly, and Chris was back out on track. He then kept the car in a great position for Paddy, despite having to fight through some of the ST class traffic after getting back out on track.

After around an hour Paddy got into the car, but as soon as he did he experienced a pit lane drive-through penalty after taking the limiter off slightly too early. After this, Paddy was succesfully finding his way through the traffic, picking up pace and showing off the talent that wins the Sunoco 200 Challenge.

2016-01-09_-_IMG_0088.jpgThe next dash to Paddy’s dream of a podium finish came when he visited the pit for a scheduled pitstop - as he pulled away, the car stalled. It was then too hot to restart straight away, so the team had to bump start to get it going again, this sadly lost them a further 45 seconds. 

During his stint in the race Paddy also experienced slight issues with braking performance/pressure. Luckily, these issues didn’t phase the young British racer, and he went on to enjoy the rest of his stint. Despite the bad luck during the race, Paddy went on to bring a car home safely in 8th in class/16th position overall, and we are proud to say this is still a great achievement for his first time racing in America.

McClughan-011.jpgDuring the BMW Performance 200 Paddy McClughan’s top lap time was an impressive 1:59.192 – the Racers Edge Managed No. 57 sister car achieved a 1:59.324 top lap time (finished 7th). This just goes to show that Paddy has some talent, as the two cars from the Racers Edge Motorsports Team both had identical set-up’s, but Paddy still drove the quickest lap.

Paddy said; “some set-backs at the start of my session put us back, but despite this I enjoyed the experience of racing with the Racers Edge Motorsports team, and with Chris Beaufait. I even had chance for an on-track battle with the team’s sister car, No.57, but after experiencing some brake fade I decided to maintain pace and bring the car home safely. This experience has opened my eyes to racing in the USA and I would love to come back out here in the future”

SunocoGuests-02.jpgFor the 5th year running we have brought a talented British Racer to America to race in the support race to the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Paddy proved his worth at Daytona, and despite only being 19, and never having driven a Muscle powered car before, he really impressed the team, remaining calm under pressure, improving and learning throughout the whole experience. We are proud to have seen Paddy’s driving mature in just a short few weeks, and hope to see more of this racer out in Europe, and hopefully, one day, in the USA again. 

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The 2016 Sunoco Whelen Challenge is provided in partnership with Whelen Engineering in the USA and Anglo American Oil Company Ltd in the UK. Drivers from selected Sunoco-fuelled championships competed against each other throughout the season with a chance to win a fully paid-for race seat in the Action Express Racing-run Whelen-sponsored Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January 2016. The eligible championships for the 2015 race season were: British GT3, Radical Enduro Championship, Radical European Masters and Britcar Endurance (Classes 1 only) - it is only drivers these series which are likely to be a able to handle a Daytona Prototype at plus 190mph on the famed 31° Daytona banking.  

The 2016 Sunoco 200 Challenge provided a winner, from additional Sunoco fuelled Championships with a race seat in the Sunoco liveried Chevrolet Camaro during the 200-mile endurance race on the Friday before the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The eligible series for the 2015 race season were: British GT4, Atom Cup, F3 Cup, GT Cup, Radical Sprint Championship (formally Clubman's Cup), Britcar Sports & Touring Car, Britcar Endurance (Classes 2,3,4), Britcar Trophy Series and MINI Challenge.