Lundqvist beats Keen to Sunoco Whelen Challenge crown
Phil Keen has missed out on a second Sunoco Whelen Challenge title by just 3.5 points to Linus Lundqvist, who wrapped up the BRDC British F3 title at Silverstone on Sunday.
The Swede will now make his sportscar racing debut at the legendary Daytona International Speedway this January courtesy of a fully-funded Daytona 24 Hours entry supported by Whelen Engineering Inc and Anglo American Oil Company Ltd.
Lundqvist’s victory came at the expense of 2015 prize winner Keen who headed into the weekend just 0.1 point ahead in the standings following another standout British GT campaign. However, his young rival’s perfect first British F3 race at Silverstone, which comprised the maximum 140 points available for pole position, victory and fastest racing lap, was more than enough to initially jump ahead.
Pole for the championship’s second Sunoco Challenge-eligible race then ensured only 15 more points were required to seal the crown. But when adverse weather forced organisers to cancel it, the recalculated average scores gave Lundqvist the edge.
Indeed, Lundqvist finished the season on 89.67 points, 3.5 more than Keen and 12.67 marks ahead of newly-crowned British GT champion Jonny Adam, who also won the Sunoco Whelen Challenge in 2016. Indeed, this is the first time in four years that a British GT champion hasn’t won the prize following Seb Morris and Stuart Middleton’s victories in 2017 and ’18, respectively.
Incredibly, Lundqvist’s success was confirmed less than 24 hours after British F3’s last senior Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner, Felipe Nasr, wrapped up 2018’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship crown with the same Whelen-sponsored Action Express Racing squad he tested with prior to his 2013 Daytona prize drive with Mike Shank Racing.
Lundqvist is joined in Daytona by 2018 Mini Challenge Cooper class champion Kyle Reid who will contest the four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Tire SportsCar Challenge support race as his prize for winning this year’s Sunoco 240 Challenge.
Nicki Thiim and Yelmer Buurman also featured in the final overall top-six, while Charlie Fagg was the highest-placed British GT4 driver in eighth. Marco Sorensen and Patrik Matthiesen completed the top-10.