Beechdean Aston Martin Racing team owner and driver Andrew Howard recently caught up with Sportscar365 Jake Kilshaw, to discuss the teams prospective plans for the 2018 motorsport season:
Beechdean AMR is set to expand its GT racing program next season, likely with a planned British GT Championship return alongside a continuation in the European Le Mans Series, while even an FIA World Endurance Championship entry has been evaluated.
The Andrew Howard-led team put its four-time championship-winning British GT program on hiatus ahead of this season in order to focus on its ELMS championship defense and second attempt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Howard has vowed to return to the GT3 and GT4 ranks next year however, while also considering entries elsewhere.
“This year we really focused on the GTE side of things to try and get things right,” he told Sportscar365. “Le Mans is a very competitive thing to do but we always only intended to take a year out and the intention was to come back in 2018 with a British GT offer.
“At the moment we’re just starting now talking to drivers who have shown interest in working with Beechdean going forward.
“We’ll look at whatever the drivers want to do. We have plenty of kit and a big enough team to really look after clients in a multi-championship program. We’re very capable of doing more than one championship in GT3 and GT4.
“There are a lot of young drivers around at the moment who are looking at progression and we’re one of the few teams that can show that progression all the way from GT4 to GTE.
“I think we’ve proven, with the likes of Jonny [Adam], Ross [Gunn] and all the other lads and lasses who have done well, that we’re a team that does well with people who are ambitious.”
While the team has traditionally run one Aston Martin in GT3 and one in GT4, Howard plans to field three cars in British GT next season, but still with a multi-class entry.
“Running two GT4s and a GT3 in British GT is certainly very comfortable for us, or running two GT3s and a GT4,” he said.
In addition, Beechdean is likely to remain with its Aston Martin Vantage GTE in ELMS, although could expand to race a GT3 variant in the Michelin Le Mans Cup as well.
With a new GTE-spec Aston Martin expected for next season, 2018 will be the final year of competition for the current-gen car in WEC GTE-Am and ELMS GTE, while a replacement GT3 model isn’t expected until 2019.
“You’ve got the Michelin Cup supporting ELMS next year which would be a great option for us because obviously we’re out there at all the races and at Le Mans, hopefully,” Howard added.
A return to the Total 24 Hours of Spa for the first time since 2014 is also on the cards.
“We did Spa for three years and that’s certainly something we’d love to come back to at some point,” he said.
However, the team’s ambitions don’t stop at the European scene, with Howard admitting his ultimate aim would be to field a WEC entry.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’d do WEC tomorrow,” he said. “For us, it would purely depend on what sponsorship we can bring in.
“To go off and do a World Championship is my ultimate aim and on a personal level, having been lucky enough to win on a domestic level and a European level, to try and compete at a world level would be fantastic.
“WEC, for me, would be the ultimate, and I would love to be able to work with some partners to take the car into WEC in its final year.
“That’s something that we are working on but I think that’s a bit more of a long-shot because of the level of sponsorship that’s required.
“We’ve always said we’ve committed to ELMS for three years and we were very lucky last year to be successful. I think we would step up to WEC as soon as we could, budget-dependent.
“There’s no question about it at all, but ELMS is such a fantastic championship.”