Three Aston Martins wrap up another exciting season of British GT at the #DoningtonDecider

Monday, October 23, 2023


Another thoroughly eventful British GT Championship #DoningtonDecider was witnessed yesterday as fate and circumstance threw everything that it had at the various GT3 and GT4 championship contenders at that now customary final round of the season.

Luckily or not (depending upon which way around you view things) neither of the two full season Aston Martin Racing powered teams were in with a shout this time around but both crews took experience of that situation which made for a more ‘heads up approach’ for those around them who were.

Having both secure their respective class pole positions on Saturday, the #97 Beechdean AMR Vantage GT3 of Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn was quickly penalised for what the series said was about not completing the minimum number of laps during that session for their times to stand.

Whilst the #23 R-Racing Vantage GT4 crew of Josh Miller and Seb Hopkins set about their preparations for their final race together, the Beechdean Team Manager and Howard were to have an early visit to the Stewards off upstairs during which they would discuss (not necessarily over coffee and biscuits) their situation as they saw it.

Not wanting to affect the championship aspirations of others racing for the ultimate prize, Howard said that he wouldn’t go racing whilst ‘under appeal’ and would accept the penalty imposed if it came to it – but it turned out that that position wouldn’t be required as their appeal was successful and the #97 would be starting from pole just one more time.

It was indeed fortunate that neither full season Aston was in championship contention as Safety Car intervention after Safety Car intervention shortened the already quick two-hour affair into something much less and with crews building up a gap each time only for them to disappear again must have been more than nerve racking.

Whilst the #97 soon had the Century BMW GT3 pass it for the lead, Howard was circulating a comfortable second whilst Miller was showing off what he did best by being the best of the GT4 runners throughout his opening stint and despite the multiple race restarts.

Having been hindered by the GT4 pack at the hairpin, Howard was eventually ‘relieved’ of his P2 position by a couple of cars onto the start straight just fifteen minutes from his intended pit window. With both the #97 and #23 having an additional fifteen seconds added to their minimum pits stop time thanks to their P2 finishes last time out at Brands Hatch, their lofty positions with this race would quickly diminish at their stops.

Losing out even more thanks to their silver/silver pairing was of course the #23 car as whilst the #97 car of Gunn was soon able to recover from its P10 position after the stop to gain places as the final hour of the season ticked by, the #23 car was not, and their season would end with frustration written all over Hopkins face at the end.

Eventually finishing P6 overall, the 2023 British GT Championship campaign would come to another end for them with a P6 Claim with the overall GT3 Drivers and Pro-Am Drivers Championship and P5 within the Team’s title hunt. For the #23 R-Racing crew, 2023 would become a bitter pill for them to swallow after what nearly was last season, eventually finishing P23 overall/P6 in class on the day and P7 within the overall GT4 Drivers, P5 within their Silver Cup class and P6 within the GT4 Team’s Championship.

It wasn’t to be this season but then you can’t have your own way all the time. It’s been mighty fun watching the Championship again this year and we hope to be back again next season. Whilst some teams may return next year, others sadly wont as seek adventures elsewhere and having already sold their car to another interested party as well!

Not to forget the ‘guesting’ #31 MKH Racing AMR Vantage GT4 of Ron Johnson and Tom Ingram, they too had an eventful Donington debut together where they only interacted with both the team and car for the first time on Thursday. Whilst it may have been ‘just a bit of fun’ together for the drivers, it was a very much a dipping of a toe into the British GT waters for team as they explore racing possibilities moving forward after a decent debut season within the British Endurance Championship where they finished second in class.

Just for the record, whilst the #31 car did Qualify last, they did manage to finish the race in P27 overall / P6 in class despite having spun off once or twice along the way. Judging by their faces after the event – it was a job well done for all of them.







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