Johnathan Hoggard, the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year has a busy schedule at Autosport International at the Birmingham NEC this weekend (9-12 January), and appeared at the Sunoco stand on Thursday to discuss his participation in the Sunoco Whelen Challenge.
Hoggard won the 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge thanks to his exceptional performances in the BRDC British F3 Championship last year, which saw him claim seven race wins and seven pole positions, securing him a dream prize drive in the LMP2 category with Rick Ware Racing at the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the end of this month.
The British driver, fresh from participating in the ROAR before the 24 test days last weekend, explained that despite technical problems with his car, he enjoyed the challenge of adapting to a new machine and discipline.
“Unfortunately we had some technical issues at the ROAR including some electrical problems, which we didn’t really need, but part of this experience is dealing with the problems we’ve got and I’m glad that it happened at the ROAR instead of the race. We know what the problems are and how to fix them,” he commented.
Impressively, the 19-year-old was just eight tenths of a second slower around the circuit compared to his much more experienced teammate, despite the limited running. He admits he got to grips with his new machinery quickly and enjoyed his experience.
“I really enjoyed driving the LMP2 car, it was my first time driving it and I think I coped with it quite well. It’s got quite a lot of downforce and a lot of power which I think my driving style suits.
“Driving that on the Daytona track was really nice, the infield corners were quite similar to the UK tracks, and the banking was really impressive. It looks like a wall, and when you get on it for the first time it’s quite scary but then you get used to it quite quickly.
“It’s my first endurance race and for that to be at Daytona is incredible!”
Hoggard will fly back out to Florida ahead of the main event on 25-26 January, with practice sessions and qualifying, including night running, preceding the main Rolex 24 at Daytona contest.
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6 January 2020 - Hoggard gets to grips with Daytona at Roar Before the 24