Nicki Thiim makes his Intelligent Money British GT Championship comeback in Portugal next weekend as substitute for fellow Aston Martin Racing factory driver Ross Gunn.
The Dane, a two-time GT3 race winner, joins Andrew Howard at Beechdean AMR – a team he raced with in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS last season when the same combination finished third at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.
Thiim was also third in 2018’s British GT drivers’ championship with Mark Farmer, TF Sport and the previous generation Vantage before making his final appearances to date one year later. Now he’s back for a one-off outing with Howard, who previously partnered the other half of the Dane Train, Marco Sorensen, in Thiim’s final campaign.
Gunn is unable to compete at Portimao due to his clashing IMSA commitments, which have also forced 2 Seas to replace Jules Gounon with Phil Keen.
Fortunately, Beechdean’s high-class stand-in is no stranger to the winner’s circle with Aston Martin. The combination has claimed two FIA World Endurance Championship titles as well as 24-hour class wins at Le Mans and the Nurburgring. Thiim was also in fine form earlier this month at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa where he finished third, albeit while driving an Audi.
The Prodrive-led team he joins this weekend came within a short pitstop and resulting penalty of winning its first British GT3 race since 2015 last time out at Snetterton. It’s a statistic Thiim believes can change for good in the Algarve.
“I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with Beechdean AMR for the first time since last summer, and what better place for a guest appearance than in Portugal – where we really need some good ice cream?” he qu(wh)ipped.
“It’s been clear from the season so far that Andrew’s worked a lot on his performance and has been driving extremely quickly. This, combined with the fact that the fast, fluid corners at Portimao should suit the Aston Martin, means I think we have a very good chance of scoring a strong result and maybe standing on the top step of the podium.”
Howard added: “When the calendars were published for the season, we were aware that the situation with Ross’s availability might come up and it’s certainly a shame to lose someone who’s been driving at an exceptionally high level this year. In Nicki, however, we have the perfect substitute; a multiple World Champion, Le Mans and Nurburgring 24 Hours winner and someone who knows the Beechdean AMR team inside out from his races with us last year in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe.
“We’ve been so close to winning several races this year and Portimao presents us with another opportunity to put the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 on the top step of the podium.”
The British GT Championship stages its second three-hour race of the season at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve on July 22-23.
Image courtesy of Beechdean AMR/Drew Gibson