Beechdean: As close as it gets at Brands Hatch

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beechdean Motorsport had a tough task ahead of them to even make the grid for the sixth round of the British GT championship after a puncture last time out at Rockingham prompted Andrew Howard’s dramatic exit. However the team put on a spectacular show to finish second in one of the closet finishes in British GT history.

Andrew Howard took the start in less than ideal conditions as rain fell just five minutes before the start of the two hour race. Keeping out trouble at the start, Andrew dropped to 13th as track conditions made just staying on the track a challenge.“The opening laps were just carnage” said Andrew. “We seem to be fated this year in British GT with rain on the grid; but it’s all a learning curve. The championship is so competitive with such good drivers that you have to be on it immediately. It was a fantastic job from the team to rebuild that car in four days, it was fresh out the box yesterday.”

As the track dried, Andrew started to make progress back through the field setting fastest sector times, until the safety car was deployed on lap 22 to recover a stranded GT4 car. Racing resumed on lap 27 with the pit lane opening for the mandatory driver changes on the subsequent lap. Andrew pitted form 7th to hand over to Jonny Adam just before the half way point.

Once in the car, Jonny was immediately the quickest car on track and set about making his way through the extremely completive field. “Once I got going I knew the car had the pace on the others and it was like qualifying out there for me, lap after lap just on it” Said Jonny. “On the radio they were telling me it was like a second, a second and a half per lap we were taking out of them. When I got to third we thought about settling for that as front two were still quite far ahead, but the team told me to just push on. The car was perfect and never dropped off, it just got quicker.”

Coming into the final laps Jonny was in third behind the RJN Nissan GTR and Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4. The Scott passed the BMW on the penultimate lap and set his sights firmly on the leader, starting the final lap just 0.9s behind the Nissan. As the pair rounded the final corner Jonny made his move racing side by side to the line, finishing second by just twenty two thousandths of a second.

“Near the end the Nissan had a moment on the last corner and I thought I had a chance, it was just so close, I thought we had it” said Jonny, “Another 100 yards and we would’ve been there. For a two hour race to be so close at the end is pretty remarkable, and it was great to be involved in such a close battle. I was absolutely shattered by the end of it though as I was right on the limit all the way. The Vantage was so good, the guys did a great job to make it as quick after having only a few days to turn it around after the incident at the last event . Although we finished second it did feel a bit like a win, next time out though we need to make sure it is one.”

“What an experience, what a race to watch” added Andrew. “I mean, it was brilliant to watch from the pit wall. For me, I knew Jonny could get there, and when he started chipping away at the times, it was just incredible. We need to go one step higher at Snetterton and I’ll have a chat with Jonny afterwards… losing by two foot isn’t the way forwards. We know we’re not in the championship race, so everything else this year is about developing the car and taking race wins.”

The Avon Tyres British GT Championship resumes August 4th at Snetterton
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