Howard's three year plan starts at Le Mans

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Having a post race stroll through the paddock at Oulton Park last weekend we managed to have a brief chat with Beechdean Motorsport owner Andrew Howard about his forthcoming entry into the 24Hours of Le Mans.

Having just finished a 'difficult' opening race in the British GT Championship the very mentioning of Le Mans was at least enough to put the smile back onto his face and talk about something he clearly feels extremely enthusiastic about.

Our first question before even being completed had the immediate reply from Howard that everything he does needed to have a plan - a three year plan to be exact and in this case the plan was a simple one  - enter it  - finish it  - get an automatic entry into it again by winning his class in ELMS.

He then went on to answer our initial question about how Gary Hirsch had come onto the teams radar. That apparently all came from an informal introduction made by the Aston Martin Racing team management to Andrew Howard after Hirsch had made some desecrate enquires with AMR over the winter months whilst Howards LM24 plans were developing.

"He's a very nice bloke" said Howard "he comes with vast experience and he comes highly  recommended to us by the factory because of his skills that will help both myself and Liam (Griffin) through the challenges that (first) the test day and then the race will present!"

Gary Hirsch seat fitting at Prodrive last month

"Our first priority at Le Mans is simply to finish! We all know that you can be as fast as you like but if you don't finish - you have nothing. Yes, a three driver line up with just a single Pro will be slow line up compared with other Am entries but……….. just finishing is the goal".

What's next in the pipeline at the end of this plan we asked?

"America interests me a lot - namely flagship events like Daytona and Sebring" and as we added a certain event in Australia he simply grinned and replied "oh yes" before walked off!!

The team have now made the trip down to La Sarthe ready for this weekends official test day on Sunday where Howard and Liam Griffin both need to complete the mandatory 10 laps needed for them to start the race. Of course all three drivers have already raced on the iconic track many times before but Griffin and Howard's experience have been limited to laps from the Aston Martin Racing Le Mans Festival support races held the every other year and where Griffin and Howard first ran in the Beechdean V8 Vantage GTE last summer.

AMR Festival 2015

Despite Hirsch's vast LM24 and ELMS experience, mainly in LMP2's he as apparently never driven the Vantage GTE so Sundays test will be his first time in the slightly differently liveried car!

We're sure that he's already found his favourite flavour though!

Photo credits - Beechdean AMR

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