DP meets GP when a gutsy American racer takes to the track at the home of British motor racing. The four leading drivers in the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge enjoyed their debut drives in a Daytona Prototype (DP) yesterday, the first ...
DP meets GP when a gutsy American racer takes to the track at the home of British motor racing.
The four leading drivers in the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge enjoyed their debut drives in a Daytona Prototype (DP) yesterday, the first showing at speed of the gutsy American race car.
The drivers -- Jean-Eric Vergne, Ross Kaiser, Matt Griffin and Jody firth -- represent the four competing series, British F3, Radical UK Cup, British GT and SPEED in the Sunoco Daytona Challenge.
Inaugural Challenge winner Derek Johnston took Zak Brown's DP to the GP circuit first, only for the car, powered by a 3.99-litre Porsche Flat 6, to be black flagged for being too noisy.
At 110 decibels, it was 8Db over the track day limit. Improvised additional silencers brought the count down to within permitted levels.
It was the first time that Derek had taken to a DP since his excellent performance in the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. He emerged from the car with his trademark grin, simply saying "Magic" before explaining the idiosyncrasies of the 500bhp brute to the top guns of this season's Sunoco Daytona Challenge.
Vergne, Kaiser, Griffin and Firth have 105.36, 90, 69.29 and 68.20 average points respectively at the halfway stage of the Challenge. However, with differing numbers of races to run, the outcome is not quite as cut and dried as it may seem.
Also present were journos and photogs representing many of the UK's leading motorsport media. Keen to catch up with the latest developments in the Sunoco Daytona Challenge, they were equally eager to chat with some of the leading lights in UK motorsport at a press call in the Sunoco Chill Zone.
The Sunoco Chill Zone was a smidge more corporate in style than its usual hammocks, beanbags and masseuses, but burgers and Budweiser created a still-comfortable atmosphere.
Chris Aylett, CEO of the Motorsports Industry Association, and Anders Hildebrand, MD of Europe and Middle East Sunoco Race Fuels distributor Anglo American Oil Company Ltd, gave a brace of impromptu chats about the opportunities facing these and other drivers in British series -- and the Challenge itself.
Later in the afternoon, the DP, a two-seater, became -- unofficially -- the fastest taxi in the UK. Derek took journos and four winners of a National Motorsport Week competition around the 3.66-mile Arena GP circuit once the Challenge drivers had had a taste of the American dream.
Another sort of dream was the UK's newest superhero -- Storm Girl Racer. Incredibly, not one camera worked at the moment when she raised the DP, with the Sunoco Daytona Challenge's Fantastic Four atop, above her head. Expect to see more of Storm Girl Racer.
And expect to see the more of the DP. The as-yet unknown winner of the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona will take to the car for the first of his pre-race test flights in October.