Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Morris up and running at Daytona

Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Morris up and running at Daytona

Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Seb Morris’ Daytona 24 Hours adventure began in earnest at the International Speedway on Thursday.


The 21-year-old Welshman sampled his first competitive taste of the famed Daytona banking two weeks ago during the traditional ‘Roar’ test, and continued his preparations for this weekend’s prize drive by completing practice and qualifying sessions.


The British GT race winner, who finished third in the 2016 standings alongside Team Parker co-driver Rick Parfitt Jnr, was back behind the wheel of the #31 Whelen-sponsored, Action Express-run Cadillac DPi-V.R he’ll share with Toyota LMP1 star Mike Conway and reigning IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champions Dane Cameron and Eric Curran. 


The quartet split driving duties before the afternoon’s qualifying session in which Cameron sensationally snatched second on the grid for this Saturday’s 55th running of the Daytona 24 Hours. Just 0.070s separated the American from his pole-winning Action Express team-mate Joao Barbosa.


With the front row lockout secured, Morris duly completed the mandatory night laps required by all rookies during the evening’s final practice session.


“We couldn’t have asked for much more, really,” he said. “The team did a brilliant job to execute a perfect qualifying session and end up with both cars on the front row. Both Dane [Cameron] and Joao [Barbosa] rung their cars’ necks. I’ve had a bit of time in the car today but the focus was initially on Dane getting comfortable before qualifying. Then it was just a case of me completing the mandatory night laps ahead of Saturday’s race. 


“You don’t realise just how much of a golden ticket this prize is until you get here and work with the championship-winning team and drivers.”


Just one practice session takes place today ahead of this weekend’s main event, which starts at 14:30 local time on Saturday. 


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.


Meanwhile, Sunoco’s 240 Challenge champion Max Bladon contests the four-hour Daytona support race held over the same January weekend at the wheel of a Racers Edge Motorsports Aston Martin V8 Vantage.