Sunoco Challenge: Moseley out to deny Middleton Daytona prize drive
Stuart Moseley has one final chance to deny Stuart Middleton the 2018 Sunoco Whelen Challenge title and Daytona 24 Hours prize drive this weekend when he contests Radical’s European Masters season finale at Barcelona.
Moseley is the only driver able to beat Middleton, whose British GT4 title-winning campaign came to a close at Donington Park in late September. The 17-year-old’s 78.1-point average is currently 7.85 more than Moseley’s, but that could all change this weekend if results go the Nielsen SR3 driver’s way.
A total of 420 points can be accrued during qualifying and the weekend’s three races, with 20 available for pole positions and fastest laps, and another 100 per victory. Moseley requires a minimum of 329 points in order to pip Middleton’s tally, while a rare maximum would see him win by 6.1 points.
More likely is a combination of poles and podiums, especially as Moseley - who shares the car with a co-driver - won’t be completely in control of his own destiny. For instance, a clean sweep of pole positions, as he achieved at Monza, and two fastest laps - as was also the case in Italy - would leave him needing just a second and two thirds to become the Sunoco Whelen Challenge’s ninth champion.
However, Moseley must also rely on a suitably strong European Masters contingent travelling to Spain. That’s because Sunoco Whelen Challenge rules stipulate full points will only be awarded if a minimum of 10 cars compete, while anything less results in a 10% deduction. A nine-strong grid sees just 90% of points being scored, while the 70% for seven entries would actually make it impossible for Moseley to overturn Middleton’s advantage.
Middleton currently leads HHC Motorsport co-driver and fellow GT4 champion Will Tregurtha by just 2.2 points, while the likes of fellow British GT drivers Jon Barnes, Alex Reed, David Pittard, Mike Robinson and Sam Tordoff also finished inside Whelen’s top-10.
Whoever emerges victorious will join Rick Parfitt Jnr as a 2018 Sunoco Challenge winner. The British GT3 champion also claimed the 240 title last week and will now contest the BMW Endurance Challenge support race during January’s Daytona 24 Hours aboard a Sunoco-sponsored GT4 car.
For Pro drivers Moseley or Middleton the reward is even greater: a fully-funded drive in the Daytona 24 Hours, as well as prior testing, aboard Action Express Racing’s Whelen-sponsored Cadillac DPi VR sports-prototype.
Click here for the complete Sunoco Whelen Challenge standings.
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 Cadillac DPi sports-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.