Oliver Bryant Racing

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28th May 2013

Ecurie Ecosse Savours Strategic Silverstone 500 Win

A perfect weekend for Ecurie Ecosse saw the famous Scottish squad score its first British GT Championship victory and pole position of the season at Silverstone, helping drivers Olly Bryant and Marco Attard vault to the top of the points standings in the process.

Bryant served notice of the team’s intentions during Saturday’s qualifying session by planting the Barwell Motorsport-run BMW Z4 GT3 firmly on pole position thanks to a stunning lap of 2m02.6s around the Silverstone Arena GP circuit, the first for both himself and Ecurie Ecosse.

Team-mate Attard was behind the wheel for the start of Sunday’s three-hour race, and although he initially lost out to David Ashburn’s Porsche on the run to Copse, he re-took the position with a firm move under braking into Stowe later on the opening lap.

His lead had soon grown to three seconds as others squabbled for positions behind, but with some teams opting to start with their quicker Pro drivers it wasn’t long before the Mercedes SLS of Benji Hetherington reeled in and passed the BMW.

A clash between Mark Blundell’s McLaren and a Ginetta brought out the Safety Car, allowing the strategic nous of Barwell Motorsport engineer Adam Hardy to come into play. Attard pitted from second and handed over to Bryant who resumed still on the lead lap behind the Safety Car. He pushed hard at the re-start to slice his way through the traffic in pursuit of the lead pack, setting the fastest first sector time in the process, before losing several positions when boxed in by a slower GTC car.

Two laps later Phil Keen’s Porsche collided with the limping 911 of Gregor Fisken, taking both cars out of the race and hastening a second Safety Car period. Once again the Barwell crew called their Ecosse BMW into the pits for a driver change, tyres and fuel. Attard then embarked on a lengthy hour-long stint, avoiding the problems of others and coping well against Pro drivers as each team opted for different strategies.

At this stage it appeared as though Ecurie Ecosse were in for a subdued afternoon, running comfortably in the top-10 but not challenging the front-runners. In fact, with two of three mandatory pit-stops completed during caution periods, Bryant found himself in an excellent position when he took over for the final 60 minutes.

Frequently the fastest man on track, Bryant was taking 2-3 seconds per lap out of the leading AF Corse Ferrari ahead. That he would have caught the 458 was inevitable, but his task was made easier when Jay Palmer suffered the first of two punctures that ended his car’s podium chances.

Now leading, Bryant was able to manage the pressure from charging Aston Martin factory driver Jonny Adam. Traffic saw the gap fluctuate between the pair as the race moved towards its conclusion, but Bryant was never threatened and he took the chequered flag 17 seconds clear to claim the team’s second ever British GT victory as well as his and Attard’s second championship podium of the season.

With points-and-a-half being awarded for the blue riband three-hour race, victory sees the pair now lead the drivers’ standings after four of 10 races.

Oliver Bryant, #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW: “That’s a really, really good result. Marco did a great job today, and all weekend really. The team gave us a perfect set-up and there were no issues at all with the car during the race. It was avoiding other people’s mistakes that proved key. Early on I got boxed in behind a GTC entry that allowed four or five GT3 cars to come flying past me on the run into Maggots. I backed out of that and erred on the side of caution, and obviously it paid off. The strategy played out well in the end. Adam, our engineer, is a bit of a whizz with strategy, so he decided exactly what to do. He knew when we could pit, how far into a Safety Car period we should stop and how far we could stretch the fuel. He worked it out perfectly and got two of our stops out of the way pretty early on, while some of the cars in front of us still had to pit when I got in for the final time. It’s a really great result for us!”

Marco Attard, #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW: “This is fantastic! It’s all down to Olly and the team really. I’ve learnt so much from them, especially this weekend, and they’ve all done a great job. The BMW goes really well at certain parts of the circuit – through Becketts it’s absolutely fantastic – then there are other sections where it’s a little hairy, but overall it was really good. I’m very happy!”

Mark Lemmer, Barwell Motorsport Team Principal: “This was probably one of the best and most well deserved victories that we have enjoyed recently, so I am very proud of the whole team. We have worked hard for this, had the pace and totally smashed it on strategy. I couldn’t be happier!”

GT3 Drivers’ Championship (after four races):
1. Bryant/Attard 60.5 points
2. Hughes/Berg 45
3. Ashburn/Tandy 43
4. Bell/Patterson 42.5
5. Westbrook/Fisken 37.5
6. Howard/Adam 36
7. Hetherington 33
8. Al Harthy/Caine 29

Silverstone May 2013 British GT Podium