Rory Butcher takes the positives from frustrating weekend

Rory Butcher has vowed to take the positives away from the first round of the European Le Mans Series at Silverstone after losing his maiden win in the championship to a technical irregularity.

The JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 GTE Butcher shared with Andrea Bertolini and Rob Smith crossed the line first on the road after four hours of racing at the home of British motorsport, but was found to be missing a homologated component of the floor during post-race scrutineering. Although it was not a performance-enhancing modification, JMW were excluded from the results hours after the finish.

It was a bitterly disappointing way to lose a hard-earned win in only the 29-year-old’s third start in the category, and first in European competition, but Butcher is determined to come back stronger at Imola on May 15.

“Obviously it’s very disappointing to win and then have it taken away from you,” said Butcher. “But we proved this weekend that we can run up front with the best of them, and that gives us confidence even though we don’t have the result to show for it.

“Myself, Andrea and Rob have worked so well together from when we first met at Paul Ricard and I know we’ll come back even more determined at Imola.”

Butcher completed two stints during the race, taking over from Smith in third position for a short first stint, and then taking the car to the end after Bertolini had complained of a problem with his left-front tyre. There was a minor scare when an LMP2 car shed a wheel right in front of him at Village, but Butcher showed good awareness to avoid the ailing Pegasus and bring the car home undamaged, taking the second fastest race lap and fastest time set by a Ferrari in the process.

“As I came around Turn Two, I could see smoke and it looked like it was dropping something, so I was a bit cautious coming into Turn Three and as I came out I just saw the wheel, I must have only missed it by a car width,” he explained.

Despite the setback in the championship, Butcher was pleased with his performance and is confident that his team-mates can maintain pace when the series regroups in San Marino.

“Rob did an amazing job to swap times with the two Silver drivers in the Astons at the beginning, so we had our Bronze driver out of the way and our fastest drivers to go to the rest of the race,” he explained. “Andrea had a really tough stint, he had an issue with the front-left tyre and when he came in the canvas was showing though, but our strategy played out really well in the end and had it not been for the problem in scrutineering, we could be happy with a very good weekend’s work.”

Rory Butcher Press Release