31 Oct 2016
MORRIS EARNS PRIZE DAYTONA 24 HOUR DRIVE BY TOPPING SUNOCO WHELEN CHALLENGE
BRITISH GT RACE WINNER MORRIS
EARNS PRIZE DAYTONA 24 HOUR DRIVE BY
TOPPING SUNOCO WHELEN CHALLENGE
• Seb Morris scoops fully-funded drive in prestigious Rolex 24 Hours
• British GT ace wins Sunoco Whelen Challenge in first GT season
• Welshman ‘elated’ to debut in one of world’s biggest endurance races
Seb Morris will race in January’s hugely prestigious Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona after this morning, Monday, 31st October, being confirmed as the winner of a fully-funded prize drive in the 2017 staging of the American classic - having topped this year’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge.
Off the back of an outstanding maiden season in endurance racing in the British GT Championship, where he finished third overall with one win and five other podiums, as well as four pole positions in qualifying, Seb will now go on to compete in his first ever twice-round-the-clock race.
Run by the Anglo American Oil Company, the Sunoco Whelen Challenge is a season-long contest where drivers from a selected number of Sunoco-fuelled categories are pitted against each other with their respective results equating to an average score each weekend.
Leading the Sunoco Whelen Challenge after the final round of the British GT season last month, Seb had to wait until this past weekend to see the outcome of the Radical Euro Masters where Marco Cencetti had a chance to potentially edge ahead at the top of the Challenge standings.
As it turned out, Seb ended with an average score of 80.06 points across the eighth annual Sunoco Whelen Challenge, 7.23 points more than Cencetti. Now, the Welshman will now go on to make his debut at Daytona during the special ‘ROAR Before The Rolex 24’ official test days on 6th/7th/8th January next year.
The big race itself, the 55th staging of one of the globe’s most important and prestigious encounters, will follow over the weekend 28th/29th January at Daytona International Speedway in Florida where Seb will compete against some of the biggest names in global motorsport.
“It was disappointing to miss out on the British GT title this year but my sights have also always been set on winning the Sunoco Whelen Challenge and racing at Daytona, so I’m very proud to have achieved that”, said an elated Seb.
“Manufacturers and big teams like drivers to have proven themselves in big races, which is difficult for young guys like me with limited budget. So, racing at Daytona isn’t just about having a good time, it’s demonstrating what I can do on one of the world’s biggest sportscar stages. I’ll be speaking to my manager about the race as he’s competed there in the past, and I’ve also already started looking at the track and doing some sim work in preparation.
“I really must say a huge thank you to Sunoco and Whelen for offering me and other young professionals the opportunity to compete for, and win, such a coveted opportunity. I’m really looking forward to proving myself in endurance racing. Who knows where it might lead.”
Anders Hildebrand, Managing Director of Anglo American Oil Company Ltd (Sunoco UK), said: “Looking at the long list of previous Sunoco Whelen Challenge winners [previously Sunoco Daytona Challenge] I'm extremely proud that we have managed to continue to offer this amazing opportunity year after year. Our winners go to the Rolex 24 on their own merit having beaten racers from other classes by pure speed and race craft.
“When, and I must say I'm very pleased that Seb Morris has won this year's Challenge, Seb arrives in Daytona the whole field know that this kid is not there because he has paid to be there or have an extremely good manager – he is there only because he has proved that he is fast and is exceptionally talented. Maybe this year is the year when our winner will take to the top of the podium and whatever happens I'm sure that Seb will shine and come back with an amazing experience.”
In-keeping with its position as one of the world’s biggest races, the list of past winners reads like a veritable ‘who’s who’ of motorsport to underline its standing and importance. British sportscar legend Derek Bell, fellow Briton Andy Wallace and ex-Formula One driver and multiple Grand Prix winner Juan Pablo Montoya are all past victors.