Sunoco Whelen Challenge award winner Johnathan Hoggard will race an LMP2 with Rick Ware Racing at the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona, his reward for winning the prize drive after a superb season of competition.
While the team is best known for its NASCAR exploits, it took second place in LMP2 Am in the opening round of the Asian Le Mans Series in November, despite freight issues ahead of the contest.
Johnathan will team up with an impressive trio of racers in the team’s Riley-Multimatic Mk 30 LMP2 car. Joining him will be Indycar and sportscar racer James Davison, and the team’s current Asian Le Mans Series racers Cody Ware, who also competes in NASCAR, and Mark Kvamme, a Rolex 24 podium finisher in 2017.
Finishing vice-champion in the BRDC British F3 Championship, Johnathan then went on to claim the prestigious Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award, which will earn him a drive in both a Red Bull Formula 1 car and Aston Martin Vantage GTE machinery.
The 19-year old will travel to Daytona right after the start of the New Year for the fabled Roar Before the 24 over the weekend of January 3 – 5, where he will turn his first laps of the 3.56-mile Sports Car Course at the famous 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.
“It’s really exciting and quite unexpected, but I am really happy to be racing a prototype. It’s more like a single-seater so hopefully, I’ll adapt to it quite quickly, so I just have to learn the track as quickly as possible. I’ve done a bit of sim work, but it is never going to be like real life. It’s good to learn the layout so at the Roar I can learn everything in the limited time I have.
“It will be a different experience because all your team mates are working together on one car to ensure that you are able to get the best possible result. Normally in single seaters, you are the only driver you only have to worry about, however with an extra three team mates it is definitely going to make it very interesting.
“This drive wouldn’t be possible without Anders, Sonny, and Rick being so generous. Coming into the year this was something that would have been great so to win it and be in the position I am now is incredible.”
Anders Hildebrand, Owner, Anglo American Oil Company
“The Sunoco Whelen Challenge once again went down to the wire and we are very pleased that 2019 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award winner Johnathan Hoggard is our 11th winner. I monitor all racers in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship and the Pro drivers in the British GT Championship and I must say that Johnathan stood out from a very early stage. He consistently put in pole positions and fastest laps and apart from a low scoring round at Spa he consistently fought for race wins, scoring seven victories which is a remarkable achievement in a fiercely competitive Championship.
“When we were approached by Rick Ware Racing who were offering Johnathan a competitive LMP2 drive we accepted it immediately. The Riley-Multimatic Mk 30 LMP2 race car and strong driver line-up makes it a very competitive package and together with the experienced race team means it is very promising.
“In 2018 the Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner, Stuart Middleton finished 2nd overall, so, although an LMP2 might not be able to win overall, I feel that we should be able to fight for a class podium finish and maybe even a win.”
Rick Ware, Owner, Rick Ware Racing
“We’re really happy to have Johnathan join our programme for the upcoming Rolex 24 hours At Daytona, to round out a strong driving line-up. We feel honoured that Rick Ware Racing was tasked with carrying on the strong tradition of running Sunoco Whelen Challenge winners in the Rolex 24, which has churned out some great racers in the sport. RWR would like to thank both Sonny Whelen of Whelen Engineering and Anders Hildebrand of Anglo American Oil Company for their belief in our programme.”