Image credit: Beechdean Motorsport.
As well as sealing the LMGTE class, LMP2 and GTC (with six teams capable of winning the 2015 crown) the 4 Hours of Estoril will feature a one off entry for Aston Martin Racing for newly crowned British GT Champions Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam.
Andrew Howard’s Vantage V8 will join the other eight cars in the LMGTE class as a race by race entry gaining experience for a planned full season long campaign in 2016.
Howard is no stranger to the ELMS arena as he masterminded the Mansell Motorsport LMP1 entry in 2010 that saw British motorsport legend Nigel Mansell join sons Leo and Greg. They tasted success that year winning the LMP1 class at Hungaroring. After that one season Andrew Howard returned to the race seat in British GT, winning the British championship in 2013 and this season with Aston Martin works driver Jonny Adam, who is currently competing in the World Endurance Championship for the British manufacturer.
“In 2010 we competed as a race team not as a driver and in 2012 I did the World Endurance Championship round at Silverstone.” said Howard. “My intention has always been to compete at Le Mans as a driver and I have been very open and honest about that. Having won the British title again the time is now right to look to do Le Mans again”
Talking about his potential 2016 ELMS entry Howard added “We hope to be on the grid in 2016. So as a first step we thought we had better go and test it and that is the reason we are competing this weekend.
“It will take me a while to get used to the GTE again but I am looking forward to racing the car in Portugal.”
“It’s been a personal long term goal for Andrew (Howard) to race in the European Le Mans Series since he ran the Mansell programme in 2010 and from a driving point he has always wanted to get back into the championship.” said Factory Aston Martin driver and team mate Jonny Adam.
“When he purchased the GTE car earlier this year, the plan was to do the Goodwood Festival and then if there was enough budget left over to compete in the final ELMS race at Estoril.
“We’re looking forward to it, it has been a great year, this is just to see where we fit in ahead of the 2016 season.”
Sadly, for those who wondered, there wont be any Beechdean Ice Cream in Portugal due to the truck being on the road between different events for about a month, however, Howard confirmed: “if we do the ELMS in 2016 there will definitely be ice cream at every event.”