sivestone_2904

Pista – Podium pace goes unrewarded for Beechdean AMR at wet Silverstone 500

Beechdean AMR duo Jessica Hawkins and Andrew Howard remain upbeat of their potential for the rest of the British GT Championship season after podium pace went unrewarded due to a minor error at the series’ longest race, the Silverstone 500, on Sunday.

The drivers of the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 were quick throughout Saturday’s pair of practice sessions and translated it to a third place result in Silver-Am qualifying; GT racing newcomer Jessica’s best result to date.

Weather conditions on Sunday morning, however, proved treacherous as a result of heavy and relentless morning rain, with only a small reprieve as the cars headed to the grid for the start of the race.

Andrew started; the race commencing under Safety-Car conditions, but the two-time series champion was quickly up to speed as the circuit went ‘green’ as he gained a spot by the end of the first racing lap, and later ran fifth overall.

A spinning car meant the race moved to Full-Course Yellow (FCY) conditions after 20 minutes; Andrew immediately pitting to hand driving duties to Aston Martin Aramco Formula One Team Ambassador Jessica.

She emerged fourth in Silver-Am, only to be given a drive-through penalty shortly afterwards due to the stop taking fractionally less than the mandatory 115 seconds. The time loss incurred here by the Aston Martin proved crucial.

Andrew was back aboard at the start of the second hour and ran seventh in Silver-Am, which was where #97 remained, despite more FCY and Safety-Car appearances and another driver change.

Jessica and Andrew leave Silverstone sixth in the Silver-Am standings and with lessons learned and much to be optimistic about for the next round at Donington Park in less than two weeks’ time.

Jessica Hawkins said: “We had a strong qualifying session with combined times from Andrew and I putting us third in Silver-Am, which, in only our second race is fantastic and an improvement from Oulton Park. Andrew had a fantastic start to the race; he was up to fifth overall, which is amazing. We pitted early and I was too fast for my stop. We had a penalty, so we were playing catch up from there. We brought back what we could, and we had very strong pace at the end. The car I was catching at the end finished third overall, which shows the speed we had. It’s a frustrating weekend but we’ll learn from it. The positive is that the pace was much stronger from the Aston Martin than at Oulton Park. We’ll move forwards and try again at Donington Park.”

Andrew Howard, Team Principal, said: “Silverstone is always a great place to race and whilst the conditions were challenging at times, the ‘500’ event always delivers a fabulous experience. GT racing is a complex team sport that relies on all team members to deliver at the highest level. Silverstone presented us with more learning opportunities but also confirmation that as a driver pair we are moving forward.”