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.”