This weekend's British Endurance Championship opener at Silverstone also begins the racing element of the 2012 Sunoco Rolex 24 at Daytona Challenge.
The competition – which offer offers participating drivers the chance of racing in the Rolex Series' Rolex 24 at Daytona returns for a third year, with the drivers of the BEC (formerly Britcar's GT ranks) eligible for the prize of the first time.
Though drivers in the championship are able to sign up for the Challenge at the opening meeting several leading drivers have already put their names forward during pre-season.
Keith Robinson – of reigning champions MJC – leads the BEC's contingent on the current entry list – which can be found in full at the foot of this page, though several other strong drivers are also present.
Spanish duo Javier Morcillo and Manuel Cintrano – who share the Azteca Motosport Mosler – are both entered, as are all three drivers – Rod Barrett, Jan Persson and Jay Shepherd – of the Class Three Hawthorns Motorsport Porsche 997. Their class rivals Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz are also entered, driving a Ferrari 430. Aaron Scott, who will also race in British GT this season, is entered as a BEC driver ahead of a full season with the GT3 Racing Dodge Viper – the very same car he has raced in British GT competition in the past, making for a strong contender – both for the Britcar season and the Sunoco Challenge.
BEC drivers will compete with drivers in the British Formula Three International Series and the Avon Tyre British GT Championship in the Sunoco Challenge this year – the Radical UK Cup, where both past winners hailed from – no longer eligible for the prize.
With drivers from both series able to sign up until they race at Oulton Park on Easter Weekend, the list of names from these series currently entered is shorter, but enough to give a hint as to the level of competition the BEC drivers are likely to face.
F3 testing pace setters Carlos Heurtas and Felipe Nasr are both entered, along with Fortec Motorsport's new recruits Will Buller and Lucas Foresti. United Autosports' Matt Bell and Jay Palmer and Beechdean Motorsport pairing Andrew Howard and Jonathan Adam lead the GT entrants.
This season also sees the introduction of a second tier to the Sunoco Challenge, open to several national series including the Dunlop Production GTN Championship – the Production class element of Britcar races – MSV F3 Cup, GT Cup and Mini Challenge.
The prize on offer is the chance to race in the Grand-Am 200. The race is the first round of the Continental Tire series which supports the Rolex Series. Winners will get the chance to race on the same Daytona track as the victor of the main Challenge, driving in the GS class of the race which takes place the Friday before the 24 Hours.
|Keith Robinson||British Endurance Championship||MJC|
|Javier Morcillo||British Endurance Championship||Azteca Motorsport|
|Manuel Cintrano||British Endurance Championship||Azteca Motorspoty|
|Aaron Scott||British Endurance Championship||GT3 Racing|
|Rod Barrett||British Endurance Championship||Hawthorns Motorsport|
|Jan Persson||British Endurance Championship||Hawthorns Motorsport|
|Jay Shepard||British Endurance Championship||Hawthorns Motorsport|
|Paul Bailey||British Endurance Championship||Horsepower Racing|
|Andy Schulz||British Endurance Championship||Horsepower Racing|
|Andrew Howard||Avon Tyres British GT Championship||Beechdean Motorsport|
|Jonathan Adam||Avon Tyres British GT Championship||Beechdean Motorsport|
|Jay Palmer||Avon Tyres British GT Championship||United Autosports|
|Matt Bell||Avon Tyres British GT Championship||United Autosports|
|Leyton Clarke||Avon Tyres British GT Championship||CM Consolidated|
|Carlos Huertas||British Formula 3 International Series||Carlin|
|Felipe Nasr||British Formula 3 International Series||Carlin|
|Will Buller||British Formula 3 International Series||Fortec Motorsport|
|Lucas Foresti||British Formula 3 International Series||Fortec Motorsport|
|Pipo Derani||British Formula 3 International Series||Double R Racing|
|Scott Pye||British Formula 3 International Series||Double R Racing|
|Harry Tincknell||British Formula 3 International Series||Fortec Motorsport|
|Bart Hylkema||British Formula 3 International Series||T-Sport|