British GT race winner and Sunoco Whelen Challenger champion Seb Morris completed his preparations for this month’s twice-around-the-clock Daytona 24 Hours with an impressive performance during the three-day ‘Roar Before the 24’ test last weekend (January 6-8).
Having starred on his maiden appearance at the world-famous Florida track a fortnight before Christmas with an excellent showing at the wheel of the Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype, the 21-year-old - who finished third in last season’s GT3 standings - was again in great form for the Action Express Racing squad.
Morris again worked closely with reigning IMSA champions Eric Curran and Dane Cameron, as well as Toyota LMP1 ace Mike Conway, who together will comprise the #31 Cadillac’s driver line-up later this month.
The quartet were consistently on the pace throughout, setting the third fastest time in the opening run, finishing inside the top-five in four of the seven sessions, and ending with the sixth fastest time overall courtesy of Cameron’s 1m38.902s. That was just half-a-second adrift of the ultimate pace.
“It’s been good all three days”, reflected Morris. “I had some decent time in the car, which is running really well, and we’ve just been fine tuning things really and working on the minute detail, down to something like the buttons on the steering wheel – just working to get everything as good as we can. I think we’ve got a good set-up for the race.
“I got about 10 laps in the night run, although I don’t expect to be driving in the night during the race, but I’ve got that experience now if I am required. I really enjoyed the night driving, you obviously lose some braking references which you learn in the daytime but they’re mainly small things like tyre marks on the track and you can’t look as far ahead due to the headlights.”
He added: “The team is very professional, it’s like a mini F1 team – there is so much data and they operate at a very high level. It’s probably the highest level I’ve seen and been part of in my career so far, and my team-mates have helped me so much. The whole team is fantastic, we’re all more than ready for the Rolex 24.”
Morris now heads back to the UK in readiness for this week’s Autosport International Show at Birmingham NEC. The Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner will be working on behalf of the Anglo American Oil Company during all four days of the annual motorsport extravaganza which begins on Thursday, 12th January, and opens to the public on Saturday and Sunday, 14th/15th January.
Build-up to the 55th running of the Daytona 24 Hours begins with practice and qualifying on Thursday 26 January. A further practice session takes place on the Friday before the race itself starts at 14:30 local time on Saturday 28.
What are the Sunoco Challenges?
The Sunoco Challenges provide an accurate assessment and comparison of performances across multiple championships during any given season. Points are awarded for qualifying and race results, including fastest lap, which are then converted into an individual average score for each competing driver over the course of a full campaign.
That means each race weekend offers drivers an equal chance to climb and drop down their respective Sunoco Challenge table. It also ensures that performances are taken into consideration across an entire season while placing less emphasis on one-off or unfair results.
As in previous years 2017’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge champion Seb Morris won a fully funded drive aboard Action Express’ Whelen-sponsored Cadillac sports-prototype in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.