Ecurie Ecosse By Black Bull drivers Marco Attard and Alexander Sims extended their Avon Tyres British GT Championship points’ advantage after finishing third in the series’ blue riband three-hour Silverstone 500 race on Sunday May 31.
It was the legendary Scottish squad’s third consecutive podium finish of the campaign after winning last time out at Rockingham and coming home third in Oulton Park’s second round of the season. The result sees the pair move 11.5 points clear of their nearest rivals, while Barwell Motorsport – who run the #1 BMW Z4 GT3 – remain second in the Teams’ standings.
After qualifying third in the dry on Saturday, Attard hinted at the car’s wet weather potential by maintaining the place at the start of Sunday’s initially sodden race. He and Barwell team-mate Jon Minshaw enjoyed a fierce but fair scrap over the first stint before a Safety Car period after half an hour prompted Ecurie Ecosse, along with most of its rivals, to pit early and install Sims.
So long was the caution though that the BMW factory ace was called back in just a handful of laps later to switch on to slicks. And with a minimum of three driver changes required during the race, Barwell’s strategists also opted to put Attard back aboard for his second and the car’s third stint.
With other teams choosing different tactics the race’s definitive picture didn’t emerge until Sims climbed behind the wheel for the final time with around an hour remaining. While Attard had done well to keep the car in contention on slick tyres in damp but drying conditions, his co-driver was able to make full use of the fresh rubber at his deposal and duly reeled off the race’s three fastest laps up until that point immediately after the stop.
That helped Sims close in and take fifth before the afternoon’s second Safety Car period – required while the leader’s crashed Aston Martin was retrieved – gifted not only another place but also a shot at taking third. And take it he did once racing resumed with an audacious sweep around the outside of Daniel Lloyd at Stowe and along the Vale.
There was little time to make further progress thereafter and he ultimately finished just 7.1 seconds shy of race victory despite Ecurie Ecosse having to serve a 20-second ‘success’ penalty as reward for winning at Rockingham.
Marco Attard: “It was really tricky, and actually went better than we thought it would because I hadn’t raced in the wet before. At least Friday’s test was good practice. Then I was out on slicks on a damp track, but once it dried they were fine. Then I just left it to Alexander! I don’t think we could’ve wished for a lot more this weekend, especially as we’ve extended our lead in the championship.”
Alexander Sims: “It was a solid race. We played it fairly safe under the first Safety Car before benefitting from the timing of the second as it cancelled out our Rockingham success penalty. I guess it worked out pretty well! I had a good little battle with Dan [Lloyd] again, especially around Stowe, so it was a lot of fun!”
Mark Lemmer, Barwell Motorsport Team Principal: “British GT’s three-hour event is always a race dictated by good strategy and, to be fair, a lot of the top teams really earned their corn today. Our engineers were absolutely on the money too, even with the 20-second success penalty, and both drivers also did a great job. So it was a real team result. The key in this championship is to score points despite a pit-stop penalty, and another podium means we’re absolutely on target.”
Ecurie Ecosse’s next British GT outing comes at Spa-Francorchamps in six weeks (July 10/11). But the team will be back in action before that when it travels to former French Grand Prix venue Paul Ricard for round three of the Blancpain Endurance Series on June 19 and 20.
For more information: www.ecurieecosse.com