​Tough start to season for duo

​Andrew Howard scored the consolation of recording the fastest race lap of the British GT Championship opening event of 2024 at Oulton Park on Easter Monday on what could best be described as a difficult day for the local Beechdean Aston Martin team.
The Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage GT3 pictured at Oulton Park on Monday. Photo by James Beckett.The Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage GT3 pictured at Oulton Park on Monday. Photo by James Beckett.
The Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage GT3 pictured at Oulton Park on Monday. Photo by James Beckett.

​Howard and his race team-mate, Jessica Hawkins, started their new British GT campaign in torrential rain, when the opening one-hour race of the season was held in awful conditions.

Rain began to fall at the Cheshire circuit shortly before the day's action began, and by the time the capacity grid of GT3 and GT4 cars were in action the conditions were awful.

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The heavy rain made for difficult driving conditions with the Vale-based crew racing through to finish in a disappointing 18th position in a race won by the Barwell Lamborghini of Rob and Ricky Collard.

As the day progressed, so the weather improved, and the sun was shining for the second GT race of the day late on Monday afternoon.

With a damp track drying throughout, the pace of the GT cars picked up and on slick tyres near the end of the one-hour contest Andrew Howard was able to clock the fastest lap of the race with his Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to win the Sunoco Fastest Lap Award - a trophy he was presented with on the podium after the race.

Crossing the finish line in 15th position, the Beechdean pairing were some way behind the race winning Lamborghini Huracan of Alex Martin and Sandy Mitchell in another race that provided plenty of challenges.

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Howard said, "Setting fastest lap showed the new Aston Martin has good pace and we need to build on this for the next race."

Hawkins said afterwards, "I enjoyed making my British GT debut this weekend. The weather wasn't great but it was good to see so many people attending, and it was good to have the chance to meet fans during the lunchtime autograph session in the pit lane.

"We have work to do but Andrew demonstrated that the car has potential and we can now look ahead to the next race."

The British GT Championship continues at Silverstone later this month, when the Silverstone 500 will take place around the track's Grand Prix Circuit layout on April 28th.

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* The Fanatec GT World Challenge Endurance Cup powered by AWS starts this weekend at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France, and Vale-based racer, Ross Gunn, will be in action.

Gunn will drive an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for the Walkenhorst Motorsport team in a three-hour race around the former French Grand Prix track.

Joining Gunn in the number 34 Walkenhorst-entered Aston Martin will be David Pittard and Henrique Chavez, and the trio will line-up to compete in an entry of fifty-four GT3 specification cars. The Walkenhorst team have two further Aston Martin cars entered for the race that will take place on Sunday afternoon.