Photo: Jules Benichou/21 Creation

Beechdean AMR has revised the lineup of its No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, causing a change of category from Gold Cup to Silver.

Team principal Andrew Howard, the founder of ice cream company Beechdean, has relinquished his participation in this weekend’s race due to increased business commitments impacting his preparations.

Howard was originally the mandatory Bronze-rated driver in the Gold Cup crew, while the team has not replaced him with a driver of the same grading, instead opting to join the Silver Cup grid.

This also means that Aston Martin factory driver Valentin Hasse-Clot, who is Gold-rated, cannot take part in the event due to the requirement for all drivers to be Silver.

Beechdean AMR has, in turn, drafted in Silver-rated FIA World Endurance Championship racers David Pittard and Charlie Fagg to partner Roman De Angelis and Theo Nouet.

Spa marks the third round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS campaign for Beechdean AMR.

“The balance of the ice cream business and motorsport has always worked well, but with the ever-increasing pressures on food manufacturers in the UK, it’s important that I put our core business at the top of my priority list,” said Howard.

“This, unfortunately, means that I cannot put 100 percent focus on racing at Spa and having done the race a few times before, I know this is not a race you can do unless you are fully committed.

“Rather than compromise the team in any way, I’ve taken the difficult decision to step back from driving duties for the race.

“Because of this, we’ve decided to switch to the Silver Cup with two fantastically talented team newcomers in David Pittard and Charlie Fagg.

“While this means that unfortunately Valentin – as a Gold driver – also has to step aside for this race, I have to thank him for taking the news as the true professional he is.

“Both Valentin and myself will be on-site for the race and plan to be cheering on a double win for the team.”

Pittard drives for Paul Dalla Lana’s NorthWest AMR outfit in the WEC’s GTE-Am class, sharing the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE with the Canadian and Nicki Thiim.

Fagg, meanwhile, drives the same type of car for D’station Racing with TF Sport technical backing.

“It was great to get the late call to a team that’s not just here to make up the numbers, Andrew has assembled a top group of drivers in a car that should be a contender for the class win,” said Pittard.

“I was at the 24H Spa official test and got to see Theo and Roman in the Vantage and both were very impressive.

“Theo’s knowledge of the new-for-2022 Pirelli tire on the car will be a huge help to all of us and I’d like to think that my experience of having done this race three times will benefit Theo, Roman and Charlie in terms of how we manage the weekend as a team.”

Fagg added: “I was supposed to be going to Spa as a driver coach, but to get the call on Friday to ask me to race was a brilliant surprise and not something I was expecting.

“It’s a shame that Andrew and Valentin have had to step out of the car for the weekend, but it’s given me the chance to make my GT World Challenge Europe debut in a car that should be able to compete for the class win, which is something I’m very excited about.

“I’ve never driven the Vantage GT3, but I’ve raced the GTE version this year in the World Endurance Championship and if it’s similar, it’s going to be great.

“There’s a lot to learn, but with an excellent set of teammates in No. 97 and the Pros in No. 95 to help push us on, I’m confident we can do well if we can have a clean race.”

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By: Daniel Lloyd
Title: Beechdean AMR Adjusts Spa Lineup; Gold Car Moves to Silver
Sourced From: sportscar365.com/sro/gtwc/world-challenge-europe/beechdean-amr-adjusts-spa-lineup-gold-car-moved-to-silver/
Published Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2022 08:51:43 +0000

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