Rick Parfitt Jr. became the first amateur to claim the Sunoco 240 Challenge champion after seeing his remaining rivals for the title fail to score enough points at Snetterton last weekend.
The British GT3 Champion could have seen his opportunity to race a GT4 car in the Rolex 24 at Daytona’s four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge support race denied to him had either Jessica Hawkins or Matt Hammond secured enough points in the Mini Challenge Cooper class, but with Sam Weller denying them both that opportunity, Parfitt Jr. will be heading to the Daytona International Speedway in January.
“I’m totally over the moon to have won the Sunoco 240 Challenge, which is the icing on the cake of what has been a very tough year for me,” said Parfitt Jr., who clinched the British GT championship alongside Seb Morris driving for Team Parker Racing.
“I’d like to congratulate everyone who took part and will attempt to do you all proud! What a year it’s been: becoming the first driver to win both a British GT3 and GT4 title, helping Bentley and Team Parker claim their maiden British GT Championship crowns, British GT Pro/Am winner with Seb [Morris] and now the Sunoco 240 Challenge champion – it simply cannot get any better than that!
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year – I am hugely humbled and immensely grateful. Needless to say I can’t wait to race at the incredible Daytona International Speedway and be part of one of the world’s biggest motorsport events.”
The 2017 edition of the Sunoco 240 Challenge was the closest ever, with Parfitt Jr. beating Brett Smith, the Mini Challenge JCW champion, by just 0.42 points, with Hawkins third 6.81 points adrift and Hammond fourth, a further 0.22 points back, and Anders Hildebrand, the Managing Director of Anglo American Oil Company Limited, commented that had Parfitt Jr. finished one place lower in the final round of the British GT season, it would have cost him the Daytona ride.
“What a season for Rick and the 240 Challenge, which has been incredibly competitive from the very start!” said Hildebrand. “A stellar British GT campaign meant he was a contender throughout the year, although finishing one position lower at Donington would have actually seen Brett [Smith] win the competition. That’s how close it’s been!
“Rick maintains British GT’s recent run of winners, and his experience of both GT3 and GT4 means I’m confident he’ll be immediately on the pace at Daytona in January. I’ve no doubt he’ll be learning as much as he can from Seb [Morris] who performed so well there as our out-going Whelen champion earlier this year.”