A fine stint from Joe Osborne at the wheel of MP Motorsport AMR’s Vantage GT3 helped the British team to a class podium result from the Silverstone round of the Blancpain Endurance Series.
Osborne completed the team’s driver line-up alongside Aston Martin works pilot Richard Abra and Mark Poole and was the last man of the three out in qualifying, setting a lap of 2:01.931 on a drying track to qualify the car fourth in the Pro-Am Cup class of the series, the best of the Vantage VT3 in the race, including cars with all-Pro line-ups
Abra opened the three hour race for the team, and moved the #38 machine up the order into the top three in class before handing over to Osborne around the hour mark.
Osborne continued the forward progress, taking advantage of the team’s strategy that put him on track at the same time as many of their rival’s ‘Am’ drivers. The BRDC SuperStar thus made up a position at the expense of fellow Aston Martin team Beechdean before passing Nick McMillen in the Team RJN Nissan GT-R to assume the Pro-Am lead.
From there MP Motorsport put their own strategy into action, Osborne stretching his stint well into the final hour of the race. The move not only allowed Osborne to stretch his class lead by briefly take the overall lead of the race before he too came into the pits for Mark Poole. There, however, the team’s race was forced off the rails when the safety car came out.
The lead that Osborne had built with the intention of protecting Poole – the least experienced of the driving trio – was rubbed out. On the restart Poole slipped back behind the Nissan – now driven by Florian Strauss into second in class. He was able to maintain the position, repeating the team’s result from the 2013 event, though he dropped from the top ten overall on the final lap, losing out to Michael Caine in the Oman Racing Team entry which ended the race as the best placed Aston Martin.
“We knew it was going to be a strong weekend after last year’s performance,” said star man Osborne. “All three of us go well at Silverstone and the Aston suits the GP Circuit very well indeed. We went into qualifying blind, like everyone else, and it really made the race a lottery. I always knew we had a stronger race car than qualifying car, but the guys did a great job and it was a fantastic car to drive. I really enjoyed my stint, I think it would be fair to say we were looking like favourites for the win when I pitted, but the safety car really scuppered those plans and we had to settle for second place. It’s been a really good weekend, hopefully that can continue from here on in.”
Osborne and the MP Motorsport AMR team go their separate ways for this weekend’s Avon Tyres British GT Championship race back at Silverstone with Abra and Poole to share the Aston while Osborne rejoins the Triple Eight Race Engineering team to share the #8 BMW Z4 GT3 with Lee Mowle.