Two minutes in pit lane that cost Beechdean a podium

Sunday, May 28, 2023


Arriving at the circuit earlier today, the Beechdean Aston Martin Racing team looked well placed going into today’s fourth race of the British GT Championship at Donington Park having been fastest in Free Practice 1, second fastest in Free Practice 2 and third quickest within the combined Qualifying session.

With the pleasant track temperatures of Saturday looking like being replicated again on the Sunday, things were looking good for the Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn combo and their #97 Vantage GT3.

That, however, wasn’t quite the same situation further down pit lane within the R-Racing team garage where young drivers Josh Miller and Seb Hopkins were still trying to rekindle the pace that both enjoyed between them but had so far eluded in this first season together. In terms of their Overall and Silver Cup class aspirations, significant points would be needed to make up for their shortfalls at both the Oulton Park opener and the last round at the Silverstone 500. Their P6 Qualifying position looked like that might be an ideal place from where to start.

Not quite the sunny day of the yesterday, the early afternoon start would see the now thirty-three strong grid got off to a clean start with the pole setting #78 Barwell Lamborghini leading the way for at least the opening couple of laps as a charging Howard was soon up to second and then up to first within the first handful of laps.

Seeing Hopkins leading the R-Racing crew this time around, his approach was more conservative – either by choice or by reality as he only improved by one in the opening minutes as the leading two McLaren’s and Ginetta showed a clean pair of heels.

Gapping both the #78 Lamborghini and the #4 Mercedes behind, Howard appeared to be totally in control of the situation, but his situation would slowly reduce as the field became more spread out and traffic became more of a constant issue and by the time his stint was coming to an end, the gap was as little as 1.2 seconds.

What happened next affected the Beechdean race plan as an untimely Safety Car period immediately before the GT3 pit window and during the midst of the GT4 class pit window somehow strew people strategies and game plans up into the air.

A stationary Ford Mustang within the bay before the Beechdean garage was refusing to restart and forced Howard to miss his own pit box as a consequence, forcing the crew to push the car back to allow the refuelling hose and wheel guns to reach. Small team errors again during the pits stop, including pointers that caused raised voices during their earlier practices lost them time before issues with the driver net lost them even more – an 11 second loss would be stated by Howard after the event!!

Whilst the #23 crew were still having performance problems of their own having dropped to P8 in class after their stop, the #97 car had entered in the lead but came out in fourth behind that of the #4 2 Seas Mercedes, #13 Race Lab McLaren and the second #1 2 Seas Mercedes with the continued presence of the Safety Car reducing the remainder of their supposed hour-long stint to just over twenty-five minutes.

Try as he did but even the likes of Ross Gunn would have little opportunity against either Jonny Adam, Euan Hankey and Jules Gounon – but all three of them ahead!!!!

If the AMR collective result couldn’t have got much worse, an unseen incident involving the #61 Academy Mustang and the #23 R-Racing Aston Martin saw Miller park his car at the side of the circuit as the race entered its final laps. Officially listed as finishing P22 overall and P5 in class, that would be taken as some blessing for the Hopkins/Miller pairing with the Silverstone results remaining provisional subject to appeal that may improve that position again.

For the #97 Beechdean, that was a podium finish lost having executed everything bar the pit stop well all weekend but in the constant speed of today’s motorsport world, there is simply no time to dwell with Gunn again on IMSA duty next weekend and with the Le Mans 24 Hours just around the corner for the factory crew.

Next stop Snetterton.
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes