Reigning European Le Mans Series Champions Beechdean Aston Martin Racing secured a podium at the 4 hours of Silverstone.
The first round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series saw Beechdean AMR drivers Andrew Howard, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn fiercely contest the 4 hours of Silverstone over the Easter Weekend.
After qualifying in a respectable second place around the 3.661 mile Silverstone GP circuit with ELMS rookie Ross Gunn at the wheel, the #99 Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE car took to the start of the race with team boss and driver Andrew Howard. Howard, a Bronze rated driver, was able to keep several Silver rated drivers in his sights during the first hour of the race, making life easier for Gunn and Turner in the latter stages. However, an obstructed pit box meant that the first pit stop for the #99 crew was 20 seconds longer than a normal stop, thus undoing all of Howards work in the first stint.
The second hour of the race saw 20 year old Gunn chase down and overtake 3 Ferrari’s in a the space of a few laps. This stint put the #99 into a podium spot, and as the second half of the race emerged, Turner took his turn to give chase to the opposition. The Aston Martin Racing Factory Driver, made an assured move on the #77 Porsche to take second place with just a handful of minutes remaining in his stint.
The #77 Porsche car performed the undercut (Where a team pits early to get the benefit of Fresh Tyres) and a quick final pit stop, leapfrogging the #99 back into second place. With Gunn driving for a second and final stint, he gave chase to the #77 Porsche but came up one second short at the flag. After 115 laps of racing, the team secured third place and 15 championship points.
“Its great to be back on an ELMS podium at Silverstone!” Commented Howard. “This wasn’t the smoothest weekend for us and we have some work to do to match the pace of the TF car and drivers. I am looking forward to racing at Monza in four weeks time”.
Darren Turner, who was on double driving duty this weekend with Aston Martin Racing commitments in the FIA World Endurance Championship said, “To finish the race on the podium is a good way to start the season. The race was a little bit eventful, certainly in the first half. If we’d had another few laps I think Ross would have been able to make a move on the Porsche for second but we go on to round two at Monza as a strong team.”
“I really enjoyed my first race weekend in the European Le Mans Series.” Said an enthused Gunn. “The team did a great job to recover lost time in FP2 and it felt good to qualify the car just off Nicki. The race itself was unsurprisingly action packed, and I gained valuable experience of driving the car for a long period of time and how to manage tyres. I am confident we can come fighting for more at Monza.