Le Mans 2016 - © Kelvin Pope for Sportscarglobal
Le Mans 2016 - © Kelvin Pope for Sportscarglobal

Reigning European Le Mans Series (ELMS) GTE Champions Beechdean Aston Martin Racing have announced they will return to the championship in an updated factory Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE car in 2017 with last year’s regulars Andrew Howard and Darren Turner. Third driver Alex Macdowall has been replaced for 2017 with factory driver Ross Gunn who moves over from the team’s British GT squad.

Howard and Turner, together with Alex Macdowall, took two race victories in their debut ELMS season on their way to the 2016 championship victory.

The experienced duo will be joined in the #99 car by Aston Martin Racing Factory driver Ross Gunn. Gunn, 20, will continue with the Beechdean AMR squad for a third successive year, making his ELMS race debut at Silverstone in April.

Reigning ELMS champion Howard commented “It’s great to be back in the ELMS championship for a second year. Working with Darren in 2016 was essential to my improvement in the GTE car. The car is going to be very different, but last year is a great base to learn from.”

Experienced Aston Martin Racing Factory Driver, Darren Turner mirrored Howard’s previous statement saying “It’s very exciting to go back and race in the ELMS with Beechdean again this year. It’s always good to race with Andrew and I’m looking forward to racing with Rossfor the first time.  

“We had some good races last year and we were lucky at the last round to snatch the championship. I think this year will be equally difficult with even more competition but hopefully we will be in a position to fight for the championship when we get to the last round.”

“To be stepping up to the European Le Mans Series with the reigning champions is a dream come true”, said Gunn. “Alongside my British GT commitments in 2016, I went to all of the ELMS races bar one to shadow the team and learn as much as possible. Driving with Andrew and Darren will be invaluable. I’m really excited about this step in my career and I will be pushing hard for results.”

Beechdean AMR look set for another successful year in sports car racing. As well as competing in the ELMS, the squad will return to the illustrious Le Mans 24 Hour race on 17th/18th June. After competing for the first time in 2016, the #99 crew will aim to improve on their respectable 7th place.