Nasr Nails Qualifying and Wins Daytona Drive
Saturday morning saw the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 drivers qualify for the weekend’s racing at Donington Park; a fantastic drive from newly crowned British Formula 3 Champion Felipe Nasr saw him set pole position with a time of 1:23.012 and in doing so win the Sunoco Daytona Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge after gaining 20 points.
Felipe Nasr went into this race weekend needing just 12 points to win the Sunoco Daytona Challenge, and with 20 points up for grabs for setting pole Felipe knew what he had to do! It was a very close qualifying session with Racing Steps Foundation driver Jack Harvey fighting hard for the top spot but Felipe bounced back and went faster by 0.064 seconds.
The Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge is now in its third year and in previous years we have seen a Formula 3 driver pipped to the post at the last minute. The inaugural challenge saw 2009 British Formula 3 Champion, Daniel Ricciardo, miss out on the Daytona drive by just 2 points; last year saw the 2010 British Formula 3 Champion, Jean-Eric Vergne, also finish runner up by just over 10 points. However this year the newly crowned 2011 Cooper Tires Formula 3 Champion, Felipe Nasr, has become the first British Formula 3 racer to win the Sunoco Daytona Challenge and in doing so win a race seat in a Daytona Prototype with a top team in the Rolex 24 At Daytona - which this year will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Felipe Nasr is originally from Brazil but whilst racing lives in Woking. Despite only having 4 years car racing experience Nasr has an impressive racing CV; starting in Formula BMW where he competed for 2 years until moving up into the British Formula 3. Felipe finished 5th overall in the British F3 last year and this year was back to take the title – claiming the championship win with 2 rounds to go and a lead of 123 points. “Its such a great feeling - winning the championship 3 weeks ago was amazing and this is definitely up there with that. I want to thank everyone for this opportunity; it’s a big thing for me and is a massive mark in my career. I will be taking it very seriously and I will take it forward and do my very best. I can’t wait to get stuck in!” Felipe Nasr, 2012 Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge winner
Decent prize this - and although Felipe is almost a shoe in to reach his destiny in F1 - Daytona will give him a nice opportunity to drive something with a bit more grunt.
“From the start of the Sunoco Daytona Challenge the feeling amongst F3 drivers has been that they will not be able to win due to the fierce competition, within the class, resulting in that F3 drivers are ‘stealing’ points from each other. However, Daniel Ricciardo in 2009 and Jean-Eric Vergne in 2010 came very close to winning the most wanted race seat but lost out at their last race. Now it’s third time lucky and we are delighted that we will have the current British F3 Champion, Felipe Nasr, racing in the 50th anniversary of the famous endurance race against stars such as Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti and Jimmie Johnson.....what an experience!” Anders Hildebrand, MD of Anglo American Oil Company
“GRAND-AM would like to congratulate Felipe on winning the British Formula 3 championship and the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge. Our first two winners of the Challenge came from the Radical series, and did an excellent job. Now, having a driver with an outstanding resume from an open-wheel series is going to add additional excitement at the historic 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona.” Mark Raffauf, GRAND-AM Managing Director of Competition
The 2012 Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge is estimated to be worth $250,000 and consists of:
- 2 full days testing at Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama, USA- 2 days testing at Daytona in December- 3 days testing at the ‘Roar before the 24’ in Daytona- A race seat in a top team at the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona with pre-race testing included.
The first test session will be at Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama in the USA on the 17th and 18th of October – further details to be released in the next few weeks.