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Sunoco Challenge Put on Hold for 2020

Calendar changes, travel restrictions prompt deferral of Sunoco prize program until 2021…

Photo: Barry Cantrell/IMSA

The Sunoco Challenge competition that includes the Whelen Challenge prize of competing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona has been put on hold for the 2020 season.

The Anglo American Oil Company, which organizes the Sunoco Whelen Challenge and the Sunoco 240 Challenge, has confirmed that it will defer the competition to 2021.

The delay comes in the wake of widespread motorsport calendar changes and travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sunoco Whelen Challenge winners have been placed in Rolex 24 at Daytona race seats each year since 2009, while 240 Challenge winners traditionally get to drive in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge support race held on the same January weekend.

Whelen Challenge points are collected throughout the year by signed-up drivers in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship and BRDC British Formula 3.

The 240 Challenge, meanwhile, covers a much wider range of British national competitions.

Previous Whelen Challenge winners include 2018 IMSA DPi champion Felipe Nasr, Aston Martin factory driver Jonny Adam and Bentley works driver Seb Morris.

BRDC award recipient Johnathan Hoggard scooped last year’s top Sunoco Challenge prize and contested the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona in a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo run by Precision Performance Motorsports.

The news of the competition’s postponement means that a Whelen Challenge winner will next race at Daytona in 2022.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly but with championships having to compromise to ensure they fit a season of racing in, coupled with intermittent travel restrictions across various nations, we decided it was the right thing to postpone the Sunoco Challenges for this year,” said Anglo American Oil Company’s Anders Hildebrand.

“In 2021 we will crown our tenth Sunoco 240 Challenge winner, so we’ll announce some exciting new rules to make it an even more special occasion.

“For now, however, we hope everyone stays safe and healthy and we look forward to announcing our future plans at a later date.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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