Silverware followed by a washout at season-opener
The Beechdean AMR team got the 2018 British GT season off to a strong start at Oulton Park today, taking second place in the first of the day’s two one-hour races. Team boss Andrew Howard and Aston Martin Racing works driver Darren Turner collected what will hopefully be the first silverware of the season during the podium ceremony.
The first race of the day had to be started single-file behind the safety car due to a very wet track but once it got underway Howard got stuck in and moved from fifth to third within a couple of laps. Despite the slippery conditions that caught out other GT3 runners, Howard kept it on the black stuff and held third before diving into the pits to hand over to Turner.
Good work in the pits put Turner out in third place but he soon took second position from a Lamborghini that tripped over a GT4 car. Fellow Aston Martin works driver, Jonny Adam, was a long way up the road in the lead so Turner focused on keeping the third placed Mercedes behind him. He crossed the line in second place, taking the first haul of points of the season for Beechdean AMR.
“It has been great to get back behind the wheel in British GT,” said Howard. “We’re thrilled by the result of race one. The conditions were tricky so it was all about driving steadily and staying on track. It’s good to get on the podium right from the start.”
It was the turn of the professional drivers to start race two but after running for four laps behind the safety car in heavy rain the red flags came out, prior to the race being abandoned.
“It was massively wet out there,” said Turner. “Even behind the safety car at relatively slow speeds I was aquaplaning in places. We would all have loved to get the race underway but it wouldn’t have lasted very long! It was the right decision to abandon but obviously disappointing for the teams and the spectators who braved the Bank Holiday weather today.”
“This afternoon’s race was one of those unique situations where it is just too dangerous to race. When the experienced professionals are out there saying it’s too dangerous you have to listen to them and call it quits,” said Howard.
“All in all that was a great opening weekend for Beechdean AMR,” he continued. “The podium was more than we expected so it was a great way to start. Depending on how the organisers work out a very unique situation with regards to points and penalties we are lying second after the first event.”
The next round of the British GT Championship takes place at Rockingham in three weeks’ time on 29 April.