BritcarBritish GTGeneral Formula 3Sunoco Daytona Challenge

Sunoco Challenge Update – August 21

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The 2012 Sunoco Rolex 24 at Daytona Challenge is entering its final months, with drivers now only having a handful of races to score points in pursuit of the chance to driver a Daytona Prototype at the Rolex 24 at Daytona next year.

While the Cooper Tyres British Formula 3 and Avon Tyres British GT championships enjoy a breif summer break the British Endurance Championship was in action on the new Snetterton 300 track for the first time, but with familiar results.

After winning on the car's debut invitation entries John Gaw and Phil Dryburgh dominated the three hour racing in their Scuderia Vittoria run Ferrari 458, beating the entire field by at least two laps, Dryburgh crossing the line triumphant, for what teammate Gaw believed was the first time ever.

However, with the invitational classes ineligible for Sunoco Challenge points the top score went to Aaron Scott and Craig Wilkins, who drove their GT3 Racing Dodge Viper to second overall. The pair played out a different strategy to the winning Ferrari and several other front runners, choosing to stay out during two early safety cars on a riskier fuel strategy.

While the choice helped move them up the order it made the final handful of laps a nervous proposition for the team as Wilkins slowed dramatically, allowing Dryburgh to slip by and put the red muscle car a further lap down. Scott and Wilkins both claim 80 Challenge points (not the normal 100 as only eight cars lined up in the eligible classes), moving the pair to fifth and sixth in the Challenge standings, though on the same points.

They now sit just behind Javier Morcillo, challenging the Spaniard to be top BEC drivers in the championship first year in the Sunoco Daytona Challenge. The Azteca Motorsport driver – with regular teammate Manuel Cintrano endured a weekend typical of his 2011 season.

A rapid lap from Morcillo left him less than a tenth off the qualifying pace set by Gaw and gave him the Challenge points available for pole.

He then spent the opening stint of battling Dryburgh, then Gaw for the race lead before pitting to hand the Mosler MT900R over to Cintrano, a stop that lost the team nearly lap thanks to an ill-timed safety car intervention.

The difficult day was completed less than 30 minutes from the end of the race when the car retired with gearbox failure, stopping at the inside of Corum on the Norfolk track. Their retirement elevated Calum Lockie and Paul White to third overall and second among the Challenge scorers. Lockie, who also clinched the BEC class title at the race, now lies ninth the Challenge.

Class 3 – scored separately in the Sunoco Challenge – was won by the Jones family's Porsche 997 a lap ahead of the similar car of Oliver Bryant and Will Goff.

The BEC field now takes its break before returning to the Britcar 24 Hours (September 30-October 2), the twice-around-the-clock extravanganza on Silverstone's Grand Prix circuit. The grueling endurance race will be the final chance for Morcillo, Scott, Wilkins, Lockie and the rest of the field to score Sunoco Challenge Points.

Before then – on September 3-4 – the F3 and GT championships fire back into life, both series taking on the technical demands of the Rockingham roval – one of the few anti-clockwise tracks on the calendar with its own physical demands.

Sunoco Daytona Challenge standings as of August 15






1 Felipe Nasr Carlin British Formula 3


2 Matt Griffin MTECH British GT


3 Marcus Clutton ABG Motorsport British GT


4 Javier Morcillo Azteca Motorsport British Endurance


5 Craig Wilkins GT3 Racing British Endurance


6 Aaron Scott GT3 Racing British Endurance


7 Matthew Bell United Autosports British GT


8 Michael Guasch United Autosports British GT


9 Calum Lockie Strata 21 British Endurance


10 Peter Belshaw ABG Motorsport British GT


The Checkered Flag race reports

British Endurance Championship – Gaw and Dryburgh victorious

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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