Ecurie Ecosse Powered By Black Bull had a difficult afternoon on April 12 during the opening round of the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series, held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, but managed to make the most of a bad situation to come home 12th in the Pro Am class, and top BMW in class.
The BMW Z4 GT3 struggled on the high-speed Monza circuit, where the Ferrari is usually advantaged due to its straight-line speed. The Ecurie Ecosse team, run by Barwell Motorsport, finished the 2014 season in 3rd position, but could only manage 17th position during qualifying, showing how unsuited the Z4 is to this circuit.
The first chicane at Monza is famous for producing interesting starts, and with a field of 58 entries, this race was no different. Devon Modell was behind the wheel for the opening stint, and managed to gain a few positons before being forced into the gravel trap at the Curva Grande, a long, fast right-hand corner. The BMW made contact with other cars and returned to the track with a damaged front splitter and rear bodywork.
Alasdair McCaig drove for the 2nd stint, but found the Z4 no easier to drive. The final hour saw Oliver Bryant‘s turn, who made up a few positions and came home 12th in class.
Oliver Bryant: “That was a tough weekend to finish 12th in class! First BMW home is some consolation but the gap in pace to the others, especially the Ferraris, was too much this weekend. The team did a great job at the stops and Ali and Devon both drove well to deal with the damage incurred during the first lap mayhem. Roll on Silverstone, which should play to the Z4’s strengths.”
Alasdair McCaig is confident in the team for the season ahead: “We couldn’t have tried any harder this weekend. The drivers and team did the best job possible and didn’t put a foot wrong.”
“It was a challenging weekend and a steep learning curve” says Devon Modell. “The team did a brilliant job to give us a competitive car, even though the BMW did not have the outright pace in it to match many of the others.”
Barwell Motorsport Team Principal, Mark Lemmer, says that “Monza is always tough on us thanks to its high speed layout comprising long straights and sweeping corners, which is perfect for the Ferraris [and] we battled so hard for little reward. But I’m confident we will fight back at Silverstone.”
The next race for Ecurie Ecosse will be the Rockingham round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship on May 2/3, and the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series will be at Silverstone on the weekend of May 23/24.