Friday saw Silverstone host the penultimate MSV F3 Cup round and Aaron Steele had another perfect race with pole position, fastest lap and a win; scoring maximum points towards the Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 Challenge and in doing so securing a high enough point score that none of the other competitors will be able to touch.
Steele went into this race weekend needing 58 points to win the Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 Challenge. After scoring 20 points for pole Aaron needed to finish fourth or higher in the first race to take the challenge win.
Steele has had a fantastic season so far, before Silverstone he had won 11 out of 14 races so he knew this weekend he would need to show this same consistency.
“After qualifying pole for race 1 and P3 for race 2, I was told that I only needed to finish P1 or P2 in race 1 to seal the challenge. I kept this out of my mind and approached the race as normal, as did all of the team - nobody wanted to jinx anything!” Explained Aaron. “After race 1 when I crossed the line, then I could start thinking about it. The realisation moment came when I entered the pits to be greeted by the whole team showing ‘GRAND-AM 200 challenge 2011 winner’ signs and being congratulated by the Sunoco team too.”
Aaron has now added to his great season not only by taking the win in race one but also in race 2 –making his total to date an amazing 13 wins out of 16 races.
The Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 Challenge was launched this year to give more drivers the chance to race at Daytona. The ultimate prize is a race seat in the Continental Series GS class in the GRAND-AM 200 race at the same weekend as the Rolex 24. As the name implies this is a 200-mile race and driver changes are compulsory. The race is being held on the Friday before the Rolex 24 so comes with all the ‘razamataz’ of the Rolex race.
“The challenge is such a great opportunity and a big thanks needs to go to Anglo American Oil Company. I’m really looking forward to getting on with it and making the most of the opportunity.”
“I’m particularly looking forward to being at the 50th anniversary with the whole Greys Motorsport team and celebrating a very successful year with a well earned holiday! Hopefully something might come from the opportunity as I plan to maximise it and network as much as I can to create further opportunities. Either way though I know the one thing I’m going to do…enjoy it!”
Aaron is 22 and from Kent, he started off in karting after getting the buzz from playing around with friends on a beach buggy. Since then Aaron had raced in a number of different series and has had great success including being nominated for the Mclaren Autosport award in 2008.
Anders Hildebrand, MD of Anglo American Oil Company was pleased to have Aaron as the inaugural winner of the challenge: “This is the first year for the Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 Challenge and it’s great to have such a talented racer win. We are excited to be able to give him the chance to showcase himself in front of hundreds of thousands of people at the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24. Aaron will be a great asset to a team in the GRAND-AM 200 race.”
Included in the Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 challenge prize is travel, hotel and the cost of the race seat. Aaron will gain the American experience and be racing in an American muscle car – details of which will be released shortly. Steele will join Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge winner, British Formula 3 driver Felipe Nasr, at Daytona in January.