Johnathan Hoggard has gained his first taste of the Daytona International Speedway after taking part in the traditional Roar Before the 24 test days on 3-5 January.
The 19-year-old's performances in BRDC British F3 last year saw him win the 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge, and as a result, is competing at the world-famous Rolex 24 at Daytona on 25-26 January. His prize drive is behind the wheel of a Rick Ware Racing Multimatic Riley LMP2 car, alongside Indycar and sportscar racer James Davison and the team’s current Asian Le Mans Series drivers Cody Ware and Mark Kvamme.
The quartet united for the first time on Friday for the first of several practice sessions across the weekend, and were classified 14th overall at the end of the test.
Hoggard commented: “My first experience of Daytona was great, I really like the car and have enjoyed the power and the downforce. I think the circuit is great and being on the banking is pretty special.
“The transition from British tracks to Daytona, there are still similarities with the infield but the banking is quite new, especially with how steep it is! The car has a lot more downforce and power compared to what I’m used to and I’m really enjoying it. I tend to enjoy more downforce and it definitely suits my driving style.”
The prize drive is courtesy of the generosity of Sonny Whelen, who has helped a number of European racers make a name for themselves in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Anders Hildebrand, Owner of Anglo American Oil Company believes Hoggard will make a strong impression in the race.
“The Sunoco Whelen Challenge once again went down to the wire and we are very pleased that 2019 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award winner Johnathan Hoggard is our 11th winner. I monitor all racers in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship and the Pro drivers in the British GT Championship and I must say that Johnathan stood out from a very early stage. He consistently put in pole positions and fastest laps and apart from a low scoring round at Spa he consistently fought for race wins, scoring seven victories which is a remarkable achievement in a fiercely competitive Championship.
“When we were approached by Rick Ware Racing who were offering Johnathan a competitive LMP2 drive we accepted it immediately. The Riley-Multimatic Mk 30 LMP2 race car and strong driver line-up makes it a very competitive package and together with the experienced race team means it is very promising.
“In 2018 the Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner, Stuart Middleton finished 2nd overall, so, although an LMP2 might not be able to win overall, I feel that we should be able to fight for a class podium finish and maybe even a win.”
Rick Ware, Owner of Rick Ware Racing added: “We’re really happy to have Johnathan join our programme for the upcoming Rolex 24 hours At Daytona, to round out a strong driving line-up. We feel honoured that Rick Ware Racing was tasked with carrying on the strong tradition of running Sunoco Whelen Challenge winners in the Rolex 24, which has churned out some great racers in the sport. RWR would like to thank both Sonny Whelen of Whelen Engineering and Anders Hildebrand of Anglo American Oil Company for their belief in our programme.”
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