Beechdean AMR scored a sensational last-to-first victory on their British GT Championship return on an ultra-dramatic day at Donington Park.
Drivers Andrew Howard and Lewis Proctor started from the back of the Silver-Am grid after falling victim to a sudden downpour in qualifying, but stormed through the field in their Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to win the class in emphatic style on Sunday.
Dubbed the ‘Donington Decider’ with the prestigious championship title up for grabs at the series finale, the #97 Aston Martin was one of a number of guest entrants that made up an impressive 29-car field.
The duo were fourth-quickest in Silver-Am in an opening free-practice session that began wet and dried out towards the end, and improved to third in a dry FP2, giving both drivers confidence of challenging for pole position later in the afternoon.
Instead, two-time British GT Champion Andrew was dealt a harsh reality check as rain began to fall while he was his opening qualifying lap in Q1. With several other cars spinning off, the session was stopped before he had a chance to register a valid laptime.
While he did so once qualifying resumed, the track was by now completely wet, meaning it was far slower than those who had set times before the red flag. With Q2 also wet, Lewis was powerless to move the Vantage up from final spot on the class grid.
Raceday was a totally different matter; Andrew charging through the field to move up to second place in Silver-Am – and seventh overall – by the time the mandatory driver changes took place just after half-distance.
Last year’s Silver-Am Champion Lewis – who was making his debut with Beechdean AMR at Donington – emerged right on the tail of the leader and took just a handful of laps to move past decisively.
Once ahead the Aberdeen driver pulled clear and took a commanding victory, which was the first in British GT for the High Wycombe team since Martin Plowman and Kelvin Fletcher secured the GT4 Pro-Am title at the same circuit in 2019.
Andrew Howard said: “It’s a great feeling to win again, and especially in a championship that’s as uber-competitive as British GT. It’s not just gone up a level since we won the GT3 title here, it’s more competitive even than when we raced here last year! It’s been extremely hard work, but the team’s been great all weekend and Lewis has done an excellent job on his first time racing the Aston Martin. His pace was strong and he knew his job was to hunt down the Silver-Am leader when he took over the car. We managed things well, didn’t panic after the setback of qualifying and got the win, which is a great way to end our season. Finally, congratulations to Ian Loggie, the new champion. I know how cool it is to win this championship, having done it twice and he’s going to be feeling all of that right now.”
Lewis Proctor said: “I’m so happy with the result, for myself, for Andrew and for Beechdean AMR. We set out to get a podium here, so we’ve delivered on that and some! After the disappointment of qualifying the target was just to keep things clean on-track, stay professional and keep out of trouble. We knew that if we did that, the race would come to us and that’s exactly what happened. Andrew got us into second place and I just had one job when I got in; to chase down the leader and get him, which took a couple of laps. My first taste of the Aston Martin has been really good and I’m very happy with the amazing support I’ve had from Beechdean AMR to get me up to speed. It’s a great way to end the year.”