Two great performances earn the two AMR teams with silverware in British GTs visit to Brands Hatch

Sunday, September 10, 2023


It was smiles all round at the end of today’s penultimate round of the British GT Championship from Brands Hatch as both Aston Martin Racing Vantage powered teams came home will some much deserved silverware.

Always having been on the pace going into today’s two-hour affair, the #97 Beechdean AMR Vantage GT3 of Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn had been at the top of the timing screens for most of the preliminary timed sessions before ultimately qualifying upon the second row of the grid in P4.

The #23 R-Racing AMR Vantage GT4 of Josh Miller and Seb Hopkins were equally so but a mistake from Miller during his qualifying run nearly cost them the remainder of the event but good fortune was on their side and the qualified P5 within the GT4 class.

Race day expected to see the temperatures both on and off track saw again with shade being the prize possession of the large crowd coming into the circuit.

Turn one, lap one usually brings some excitement at Brands Hatch as the cars turn down Paddock Hill Bend towards Druids for the first time. This year was no different as three GT3 cars behind Howard tangled with one spinning into the middle of the track. Miraculously, only one car hit the spinning #1 Mercedes AMG which stopped neither of them continuing but the immediate aftermath of that incident allowed Miller to move straight up to P2 in class by the time they reached the hairpin at Druids for the first time.

Ten minutes into the race and the pace setting GT3’s were already hitting the tail end of the GT4 class as Howard ran P4 and Miller P2 albeit with a growing distance to the cars in front but also (more importantly) from those behind. Howards position had improved by one by the time the first Safety Car intervention was required for the first stranded car on track, but as always, that allowed both the #97 and #23 cars to close the gaps.

Quickly back to green, it wasn’t long before the next Safety Car was required for the same reason and again, the track marshals worked their magic not to delay the race any more than needs be and by the time that happened the GT4 pit window was about to open.

Miller was the first of the GT4’s to pit with the leading #61 Academy Mustang completing another lap, as would Howard when he had served his sixty-two-minute minimum time. By the time both classes had completed their pit stop cycles, the #23 R-Racing crew had retained their P2 slot in class, but the #97 car of Gunn had acquired the race lead thanks to not having to serve any further pit stop penalties – unlike the pair Infront of Howard at the time of entry.

Taking the lead straight into another Safety Car situation would put the pressure on Gunn to hold position at the restart – that he did as the race went back to green with forty odd minutes remaining.

However, with any multi-class entry, there are times when the slower cars hold up the faster ones and sadly that would be the case for the #97 crew who would lose the race lead to the #91 Century BMW as the leading duo passed through traffic.

Gapping the Beechdean AMR to the tune of just over a second, there was no way back for Gunn as the #97 car had no more to give except by taking risks in traffic or with track limits.

Some five rounds of the Championship too late, both Aston Martins came home second on track in class to secure a memorable double for two teams who have been blighted by bad luck and misfortune all season.

For Howard, it was also a job well done by the team in dedicating a near perfect result to the memory of his mother-in-law who passed earlier in the week. Speaking of her in the pit lane immediately after the chequered flag, Howard spoke of this strong farmer’s wife personality and how it was his plan to run a great race today in her memory – that they did for sure even affording himself a quick little smile before turning to collect his spoils with Gunn like the two young guns further up the paddock.

A great job by all involved – next stop Donington Park for another #DoningDecider by the looks of it!!
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