Top British outfit Academy Motorsport was left to contemplate what could have been, following another excellent showing which should have led to a podium finish in the British GT round at Brands Hatch last weekend.
The Pershore-based squad, running a two-car Aston Martin Vantage GT4 programme, qualified excellently at the Kent circuit.
Top Amateur-class racer Will Moore set the fastest GT4 time, and alongside team-mate Dennis Strandberg, the pair put their #61 Vantage fourth on the grid for the two-hour endurance race.
The team’s second car, the #62 Vantage of Chris Webster and Mike Hart, were once again on top form as they qualified 10th and expected to progress up the field throughout the lengthy race.
Moore made his now-customary blistering getaway from the off, scything his way up the order to lead the class by the end of the opening lap. The pace of the Aston Martin was genuine as he then began to stretch his advantage from the chasing pack.
Even a five-lap safety car could not prevent the field from taking advantage as Moore once again built up his lead ahead of the pit window opening and switching for Strandberg to take the reins.
Webster’s approach was to solidify the car’s position throughout the early stages, and take advantage of incidents which would undoubtedly occur in front.
With Strandberg rejoining the #61 in second place, the chasing pack began to close in with a pair of Ginettas making their way through at a rapid rate, helped by another safety car interlude. It led to Strandberg dropping to third place.
Subsequent contact with a Porsche 911 which caused him to spin, led to Strandberg bringing the car home for a fourth place finish.
Hart continued Webster’s philosophy, and benefited when both GT3 and GT4 cars tripped over. In the final laps, he moved up several places to come home a comfortable fifth behind its sister car.
Team boss Matt Nicoll-Jones says: “There are a lot of positives to be taken from the weekend. To be consistently the fastest Aston Martin GT4 throughout shows that the team is progressing well with the Vantage. Our drivers and team performed faultlessly.
“Ultimately I believe that we extracted the most and we can all be very proud of that. Unfortunately the final result wasn’t the podium that we felt was deserved following an incident with a third party.
“Thankfully the bulletproof Aston brushed it off and no mechanical damage was sustained. Dennis and Will were able to take fourth with Mike and Chris grabbing fifth.
“I can’t say enough for all involved. Will, Chris and Dennis have made significant leaps forward this season and I am very proud to have them with us.
“Mike was brought in for another one-off weekend and performed exactly as expected – perfectly. It was a very solid job by all! Bring on Snetterton!”