An electrifying finale to the 2015 European Le Mans Series saw Beechdean AMR trio Andrew Howard, Jonny Adam and Alex Macdowall take a well deserved second place podium finish on their first race in the series at the Autódromo do Estoril in South Portugal. In the 4 hour endurance race, all teams experienced a variety of conditions which saw the ELMS debutants beat the established teams in the GTE class.
The team knew the step up to the Aston Martin Racing GTE from GT3 was a big one and toughed it out to grab a very creditable second in the GTE class. The car’s involvement secured a first ever GTE podium in the current iteration of the ELMS that did not feature a Ferrari!
Looking to make a strong impression ahead of a potential full 2016 season graduation, British GT champions Andrew Howard, Jonny Adam and Aston Martin Racing driver Alex Macdowall backed up a solid Saturday of practice sessions with a great start to the race. Starting the race eighth in class, Macdowall drove a blinding first stint, rising to a comfortable second after the first hour. A slick first pit stop and driver change to Andrew Howard saw the team remain in contention.
After Howards first few laps of running, the Autumn Portuguese weather took a turn for the worst with two rain showers within twenty minutes proving to be a big challenge for team and driver. A mixture of great strategy, tyre and pit stop calls gave Howard the chance to maintain a fantastic pace during the stint and he was able to bring to car to Aston Martin Racing Factory Driver Jonny Adam in a great condition despite to tricky nature of the second hour.
With the track drying at a rapid rate of knots, Beechdean AMR took a tyre gamble for the third hour, fitting Adam with the Dunlop cut slick tyres. Despite no previous experience on these tyres, Adam drove a consistent stint, handing the car to Macdowall in a untroubled second position for the last stint. Despite early pressure at the beginning of the final stint, Macdowall kept composed and was able to protect second place.
To get a podium with Beechdean AMR debut in ELMS is brilliant. It’s a high profile championship and something we are looking into for 2016. Andrew and Alex drove fantastic all weekend and the changeable weather played into our engineers strategy. The Aston Martin Vantage GTE is a great car and with the help of Dunlop staff we got the best out the tyre in all conditions.
What a great way to finish what has been a outstanding year for everyone involved in Beechdean AMR. The level of ELMS in GTE is very high but we managed to get the best out of everything over the weekend. The weather was so changeable but that played well to some risky but great calls by the team. This is a championship I am looking to compete in for 2016 as I want to achieve success here and help get to LeMans in the near future.
It’s a great feeling to come into a new championship and finish on the podium. After qualifying I thought a podium was out of reach but the car was unbelievable to drive. My team mates equally did a fantastic job in very tricky conditions.