Sunoco Challenge: Middleton and Parfitt Jnr within touching distance of Daytona drives
Newly-crowned British GT champions Stuart Middleton and Rick Parfitt Jnr are in pole position to compete at January’s Daytona 24 Hours after both retained their places atop the Sunoco Challenge standings post-Donington.
While Middleton claimed the GT4 Drivers’ title, his second position also generated enough points to slightly increase his Sunoco Whelen Challenge lead. His final score of 78.10 is 2.2 more than HHC Motorsport co-driver Will Tregurtha, whose season also finished last weekend, and 8.16 marks more than Stuart Moseley who still has two Radical European Masters rounds remaining.
A decent outing for Moseley at Monza this weekend would give him a chance of overhauling Middleton during Radical’s Barcelona season finale on October 28/29. At stake is a fully funded Cadillac DPi seat with reigning IMSA WeatherTech champions Action Express Racing in January’s Daytona 24 Hours.
Victory would also see Middleton continue an unbroken run of British GT winners, featuring Seb Morris, Jonny Adam and Phil Keen, which stretches back to 2015, while also becoming the first GT4 driver to claim the title.
Meanwhile, newly crowned GT3 champion Parfitt Jnr maintained his chances of competing in Daytona’s 240-mile support race despite dropping points at Donington after receiving a huge slice of luck post-race.
The Team Parker Racing Bentley driver topped the standings before Sunday but slipped to second behind Brett Smith, who also claimed the Mini Challenge JCW title at Donington, after provisionally finishing fourth. However, that became third post-race when fellow Sunoco 240 Challenge contender and GT3 title rival Jon Minshaw was excluded from the race results.
The additional points moved Parfitt Jnr back ahead of Smith at the top of the standings by just 0.42 points. His final 96.53-point average is 5.2 and 5.46 more than Mini Challenge Cooper class rivals Jessica Hawkins and Matt Hammond, who will scrap for both their championship and Daytona drive at Snetterton on October 28/29.
It won’t be easy for either driver: both must score 380 points out of the maximum 420 available for pole positions, fastest laps and race wins if they’re to deny Parfitt Jnr.
Click here for the complete Sunoco Whelen Challenge standings post-Donington…
…And here for the Sunoco 240 Challenge points.
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 this season’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge champion will win a fully funded drive aboard a Whelen-sponsored prototype in the 2018 Daytona 24 Hours.
Meanwhile, Sunoco’s 240 Challenge champion will contest the 240-minute Daytona support race held over the same January weekend at the wheel of a Sunoco-liveried GT4 car.