Global Racing Aston Martin preserves perfect podium run in Dutch dunes

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Speedworks Motorsport came away from the 12 Hours of Zandvoort with another podium finish in its pocket for the Global Racing-branded Aston Martin Vantage – but heartbreak for its Hughes Safety Showers-backed Ginetta G50.

Contesting the third round of the 2015 FIA International 24H Series, both cars evinced excellent pace right from the outset, featuring consistently towards the top of the timesheets despite wind and rain throwing competitors a curve ball by battering the popular Dutch North Sea circuit.

In the hands of team sponsor and BTCC points-scorer Tony Hughes, Warburtons Bakery Executive Director and historics racer Ross Warburton and tin-top battler Ollie Jackson, the Ginetta was untouchable in qualifying, securing SP3 class pole position by more than a second-and-a-half.

Crewed by Global Insurance Management MD and track day enthusiast John Gilbert, ex-Formula Renault BARC Champion Ollie Hancock and promising young gun Devon Modell, the Aston Martin was every bit as impressive, lining up third amongst the GT4-spec protagonists and 23rd outright on the 48-strong grid, just four spots behind the Ginetta.

The inclement conditions showed no sign of abating as the race got underway, but with the circuit only partially wet, the entire field set off on slick tyres and a fearless Jackson pulled out an early 12-second class lead, at times lapping a full four seconds quicker than any of his pursuers to sprint commandingly clear of the chasing pack.

As the rain intensified and cars peeled into the pits to switch over to wet-weather rubber, the Ginetta sat a superb sixth in the overall classification, but sadly, its stellar run was not to last as differential woes and subsequently driveshaft problems spelt an early bath for the #169 entry – albeit not before Hughes had put in a scintillating ‘pedal-to-the-metal’ stint in a gritty effort to regain lost ground.

The #170 Aston Martin, meanwhile, ran faultlessly throughout, fighting for GT4 supremacy following the Ginetta’s retirement and even threatening the top ten outright. As the dark clouds finally made way for bright sunshine, the classic British sportscar briefly snatched the SP3 lead, and the runner-up spot at the chequered flag preserved its unblemished rostrum record off the back of a hat-trick of consecutive third places.

The result has vaulted Gilbert and Modell to the top of the championship standings, with Speedworks similarly seizing the initiative in the teams’ tussle at the midway stage of the campaign. Next up is the 24 Hours of Paul Ricard in France in just over a month’s time – and the Northwich, Cheshire-based outfit palpably has its sights set on returning from its cross-channel adventure with a double helping of podium silverware.

“The 12 Hours of Zandvoort is always an enjoyable event, and this year’s edition was no exception,” acknowledged team principal Christian Dick, whose squad is also an established top ten regular in the fiercely-disputed and ITV4 live-televised Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). “The weather changed significantly over the course of the weekend, but both cars were encouragingly quick in all conditions.

“We braved it out on slicks as long as possible at the start of the race and the Ginetta notably handled really well considering the minimal grip that was available, lapping faster than several cars in the class above! When she was on-song, she was flying and a win was definitely on the cards, but unfortunately, Lady Luck wasn’t on our side.

“By contrast, the Aston ran like clockwork yet again and maintained its immaculate rostrum record – having now finished both third and second, there’s only one box left to tick! John in particular deserves a special mention; he did a lot of preparation for this race and that really shone through in his commendable performance behind the wheel.

“As ever, I’m extremely proud of everybody in the team. The boys worked tirelessly to strip down and rebuild the Ginetta – which coated them in gearbox oil – but despite their best efforts and incredible determination, she just didn’t want to play on this occasion. Next time, hopefully we can turn the car’s obvious pace and potential into that elusive class victory, which would be no less than the whole crew deserves.”
 Image Credits: M Photographic /
Source material - Speedworks
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