Beechdean AMR’s Howard: there’s no place like home
Double British GT champion Andrew Howard is looking forward to returning ‘home’ this weekend when he and the Beechdean AMR squad make their series comeback at Oulton Park.
The 2013 and ‘15 title winner hasn’t raced domestically since 2016, and last contested a full season during the second of his two GT3 championship campaigns.
Since then both Howard and Beechdean AMR have focused on their international programme, which saw them crowned European Le Mans Series champions in 2016 alongside new British GT co-driver Darren Turner.
While GT3’s amateur driver ranks feature a host of new and familiar faces, it’s the professional roster that has attracted most attention thanks to seven factory drivers – including three-time Le Mans class winner Turner – joining the senior category.
And it’s that level of competition on Howard’s doorstep that convinced one of British GT’s most successful-ever amateur drivers to return this year.
“We had a great time in Europe but it was time to come home,” said Howard. “British GT offers bigger grids in our class and judging by the entry list this is going to be a fantastic season of racing. Our sponsors prefer the UK market, it reaches our core market in the UK and for me personally, as a company director, British GT allows me more time to do my day job.
“British GT is a national championship but it has an international feel. It’s incredibly competitive so if you win here you have earned it! It’s a well-run and forward-looking championship.”
Turner, meanwhile, will be making only his second-ever British GT appearance this weekend. He last raced and won at Oulton Park in 2014 at the wheel of a pre-1966 Mini, but faces a slightly different prospect this weekend when he attempts to beat, instead of working with, four of his Aston Martin Racing team-mates.
“Getting back onto circuits like Oulton Park and Brands Hatch is going to be a fun experience,” he said. “Oulton is a very old school circuit: it’s narrow with a grass run off then it's the barrier and that is something that can really focus a driver’s mind.
“It’ll be interesting to race against, not just the rest of the stiff competition, but most of my WEC team mates! I don’t think any of us were expecting to get this opportunity and it’s going to make for a great championship battle. After two years of working with Andrew in the European Le Mans Series I believe we have a good package and the opportunity to have a strong season ahead of us.”
The opening round of 2018’s British GT Championship takes place at Oulton Park this Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (March 31 & April 2). Reserve your tickets in advance to benefit from discounted prices. Children aged 13 and under attend for free!
2018 BRITISH GT SCHEDULE
1 Oulton Park, March 31-April 2 >> TICKETS
2 Rockingham, April 28-29 >> TICKETS
3 Snetterton, May 26-27 >> TICKETS
4 Silverstone 500, June 9-10 >> TICKETS
5 Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), July 21-22 >> TICKETS (FREE ENTRY)
6 Brands Hatch, August 4-5 >> TICKETS
7 Donington Park, September 22-23 >> TICKETS