The new-for-2012 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 celebrated its first competitive win this weekend (18-20 May), when Beechdean Motorsport snatched the landmark victory at the Nurburgring in the second round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
The ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hour support event comprised two one-hour-long races – one on Friday and one on Saturday – each taking in the 5.1km Grand Prix circuit. Beechdean’s drivers Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam wasted no time in securing the V12 Vantage GT3’s first race win at the German racetrack.
Following a successful qualifying session, which put the Beechdean car second on the grid for race one, Andrew Howard got off to a great start and put in a strong opening stint, despite the difficult conditions caused by rain two minutes before the start of the race.
The track soon dried out, however, and during a pit on the 24th lap, Howard handed the third-placed car over to team-mate Adam who immediately set a blistering pace, moving up to second and setting consecutive fastest lap times.
Adam then set about reducing the 15-second gap to the leading #9 car. Catching it by more than two seconds per lap, the Scot soon cut the deficit to six seconds with little more than 10 minutes of the race remaining.
However, the battle was brought to a premature end when on lap 28 the #9 car pulled into pit lane to serve a drive through penalty, thus handing the lead to Adam and securing the first race victory for the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.
“I was really pleased with the way the V12 Vantage GT3 enabled me to gain on the #9 car so quickly,”commented Adam. “We’re pretty sure that even without the penalty I would still have caught up and taken the lead before the race was over. I was up for the fight and I could see the target in front – it was just a case of closing him down lap-by-lap.”
“The car was stunning,”added Howard. “It’s only the second time we’ve raced the car and only the twelfth outing the V12 Vantage GT3 has ever made, so to perform like this already is incredible. We were the last team ever to win in the DBRS9 and it was fantastic to give the Vantage GT3 its first victory too… and what a place to do it! It’s great to win and it’s good to have our championship quest back on track too.”
John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Managing Director, said:
“It was a pleasure to watch Andrew and Jonny pick up the V12 Vantage GT3’s first ever race win. All racing cars are subject to a period of improvement once they’ve made their competitive debut, but this new car has proven to be on the pace of its GT3 rivals immediately and we know there is more to come.
“We’re very confident that this will be the first of many race wins for the V12 Vantage GT3 and I wish Andrew and Jonny the very best of luck for the remainder of the season, where they will have the full support and backing of Aston Martin Racing as they seek to win the British GT Championship.”
Beechdean Motorsport is now fifth in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship following race two on Saturday (19 May). Howard and Adam picked up good points by finishing 7th, despite a drive-through penalty for crossing the white line on pit exit, which dropped them out of the fight for a podium position.
The next round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship is on 9 June at Rockingham, Northamptonshire