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Sunoco Challenge winner prepares to live the dream

Sunoco Driver Challenge winner Derek Johnston prepares for his Grand Am debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona
Derek Johnston, the winner of the inaugural Sunoco Driver Challenge, admits he still can't believe that he will be lining up on the grid for the Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month.

The Radical racer secured his slot in the race after beating off challengers from his own series as well as British F3, British GT and the SPEED Prototype series to become the first winner of the Driver Challenge – earning himself a drive in the opening round of the Grand Am Rolex Series in the process.

Johnston has already sampled Daytona Prototype machinery at both Virginia International Raceway and Daytona ahead of the race – where he will join forces with Memo Gidley and Fabrizio Gollin in the #77 Doran Racing Dallara Ford – but the Briton admitted he still couldn't believe he has the chance to compete in the first big race of the 2010 campaign.

“I can't sleep and still don't believe it is actually true, even though I've been to the States and have driven at Daytona on two separate occasions now!” he told Crash.net. “It is a phenomenal experience and a phenomenal prize.”

Johnston added that he was keen to do the best job possible for the team in the event, and said he felt less pressure because of the experience of the Doran outfit.

“This isn't a career thing for me and I wouldn't want it to be as I don't have the years to do it now,” he said. “I'm taking the same approach I do to everything I do in everyday life, and that is to do the best that I can.

“It makes it easier as the team owner has won the race six times and the two drivers have won many championship in their own right and driven DP cars many times. That gives me comfort as these guys know what they are doing and are right up there, and I know the car can do the job.

“When you get in the car and they tell you what you need to do, you believe what they say and you know you can do it.”


Related Pictures

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Derek Johnston [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. GRAND-AM Championship Weekend Presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. Continental Tire Sports Car Festival. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Action. VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250 at Road America. Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Starworks Motorsport BMW/Riley duo Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer celebrate their first Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory at Road America [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (left) to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Alex Gurney and Jo Fogarty, drivers of the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP (right) finish in second place. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Robin Liddell, drivers of the # 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R., race to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Grand Touring (GT) class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Matt Bell, drivers of the # 9 Camaro GS.R, race to second place Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Memo Rojas, Scott Pruett and Charlie Kimball, co-drivers of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates TELMEX/Target Ford BMW Riley celebrate their win in victory lane at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Rolex Series action [Pic credit: Grand-Am]
Alex Popow and Sebastian Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Ford Riley, celebrate in Victory Lane after wininng the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Soloson Ford Riley, celebrate after winning the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley car is brought into victory lane after a gruelling 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Picture Credit: Daytona International Speedway]
Action Express win the Rolex 24 [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Borcheller/Barbosa - Action Express Racing Porsche Riley [Pic credit: Grand Am Media]
Vic Elford, the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand Marshal (Photo credit: Motorsports Images and Archives)
The No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Coyote that will be tested by 2009 Radical European Masters Champion Derek Johnston at Virginia International Raceway

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