Beechdean AMR storm to Brands Hatch British GT podium
Beechdean AMR stormed to a second-place finish at the penultimate round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship on a sweltering weekend at Brands Hatch.
The result, which equaled the best finish of the 2023 season for the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, came after a strong weekend performance by Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn at the legendary Kent circuit.
Aston Martin works driver Ross – back after missing the Portimao race due to his commitments in North America – served notice of the speed available from the Vantage by topping Saturday’s opening practice session.
He and Andrew then combined to qualify fourth as cockpit temperatures soared to over 40 degrees late on Saturday afternoon; a position from which a podium finish was a clear aim.
The Aston Martin, which was bearing decals in memory of Gill Kent, a much-loved member of the Beechdean family, who died ahead of the weekend, held fourth spot at the start, but Andrew spotted a gap to move into third at the 10-minute mark.
The two-time British GT Champion was secure in the position for the rest of his hour-long stint, but two safety-car periods just before the driver changes bunched the field up and allowed the Beechdean AMR crew to work their magic in the pits.
Ross exited the pits in the lead as a result, but was instantly under pressure from behind and, when marginally impeded while lapping a slower GT4 car, left a tiny gap that his assailant was able to exploit, pushing him back to second.
The Thame racer redoubled his efforts and secured the second-place finish; a result that elevated the duo to sixth in the Drivers’ points and Beechdean AMR to sixth in the Teams’ standings.
Donington Park in the East Midlands hosts the season finale on October 21-22 with Andrew and Ross aiming to end the season on a high.
Andrew Howard said: From the point of view of a team performance including both drivers, I don’t think we could have done a better job. Second – in what’s the highest-quality British GT field I can remember – is still a very good place to be and it certainly feels good to be at the sharp end again. Our performance this weekend has shown that when we execute properly, we have the opportunity to be on the podium every time. Now we’ll head to Donington aiming to go one better and end the season with a win.”
Ross Gunn said: “It’s great to be back on the podium for the first time since the opening race of the season, but the team has definitely deserved this result. Andrew was fantastic and the crew in the pits have been on it all weekend. It’s a bit annoying to lose the lead the way I did because traffic management is a vital part of GT racing, but it was just a case of coming across the GT4s at the wrong place again and again. I guess if you’re annoyed with finishing second, it shows how high your standards are, so we’ll go to Donington aiming to win. We were quick there in May so if we’re as fast as that again, there’s no reason we can’t be on the top step of the podium.”