Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam gave the oldest GT3 car on the grid a fantastic send off, winning the final round the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Silverstone.
Though upgraded to 2011-spec the pair's Aston Martin DBRS9 was built in 2005 but once more held its pace to get the better of teams running far newer chassis from Audi, Mercedes, Porsche and Ferrari, with six new for 2011 458's taking part in the race.
Jonny Adam had already proven the pace of the high-downforce Aston and the set-up by Barwell Motorsport by putting the car on pole position during a busy qualifying session but teammate Andrew Howard still slipped back on the opening lap.
Howard later told The Checkered Flag; “it just takes a couple of laps to get the tyres up to temperature on her and once they were up there it was fine. It's very difficult to watch the cars drive away at the start but when they came back we had the pace – not for the front two but certainly on the Porsches.”
Once the tyres were up to temperature Howard easily got past the two Trackspeed run Porsches, driven by fellow gentlemen driver Gregor Fisken and Gregor Fisken to take third place, matching the pace of Charles Bateman in the second placed Ferrari. A momentary mistake at Club, outbraking himself into the chicane dropped the Beechdean Motorsport driver back to fourth behind David Jones' Mercedes SLS entering the midrace pitstop window.
The team had just completed the stop to install Adam into the car when the safety car was scrambled following a crash for Paul Whight in a GT3B class Aston Martin also prepared by Mark Lemmer's Barwell squad. The car, which Whight was sharing with newly crowned GT Cup champion Andy Ruhan had taken the class pole. Whight was leading the class when he spun exiting Stowe damaging the left-rear corner of the Aston against the tyre wall on the inside of the track.
While one Aston was out of the running the safety car benefitted Adam as he was able to warm the tyres past the difficult phase that hurt Howard in the opening laps.
Restarting in fourth Adam knew he had to make the most of the first laps after returning to racing. Taking advantage of the tyres he quickly made his way through the maze of lapped cars before out manoeuvring Godfrey Jones through the new arena section of Silverstone.
Third became second as Adam drove past Richard Westbrook before Becketts and took the lead from Zak Brown's Audi before moving into a clear lead, taking the checkered flag with a 20 second lead over Westbrook who had taken second place in Adam's wake.
The third Barwell run car in the race – the GT4 Secure Racing Aston Martin Vantage – completed the race for a sixth place finish in class to close a difficult weekend.
Sharing the car with Tiff Needell for the weekend regular driver Peter Erceg had suffered a big crash in Friday practice, wrecking the front of the car. With insufficient time to rebuild the car the team was forced to borrow a test car from Aston Martin Racing for the race.
The change of car reduced the qualifying session Saturday morning to little more than a shakedown session ahead of the two hour race. In the race itself Erceg showed little ill effect from his off the day before in taking the opening stint of the race.
Needell, similarly kept up a consistent pace in the second half of the race but neither were able to push the car up to where they should have been to race with the rest of the GT4 class.