In the first installment of our #GT3is10 series, Aaron Scott looks back on his podium finish in the first FIA GT3 Europe race at Silverstone 10 years ago to the day, having started from the pitlane in the brand-new Ascari KZ1R GT3 he shared with Ben Collins. The race was won by the late Allan Simonsen and Hector Lester, with Sean Edwards and Dimitris Deverikos finishing second.
I was involved in the early stages of the Ascari project with the Damax team and remember well going into the first test at Paul Ricard, seeing the car parked up next to the Dodge Viper and thinking we had a good package. I know we had quite a standard BMW road-going engine in it, but it was a really good chassis – although I seem to remember we had quite a lot of weight in it.
Obviously the speeds have moved on a hell of a lot since then because SRO initially used the Porsche Cup car as a target for what they wanted from the performance of the cars, but the Ascari was a cracking car, one that could have remained for competitive for a long time. It had all the right ingredients for a GT car with a carbon tub, it was almost like the McLaren in that respect.
Ascari was one of the smaller manufacturers and I must give credit to Robin Ward from Damax and Henry Barczynski from Gigawave, those were the guys who really got that project off the ground, along with Klaus Zwaart.
In that first race, we started from the pitlane. I was on slicks and it was wet, but I had a pretty good stint and came through the field before handing over to Ben, who managed to get it onto the podium with our friends Allan Simonsen and Sean Edwards.
Ben was a really strong team-mate, it was good fun driving with him, but the SRO got on top of that very quickly and split us up after that! We had a big opportunity to win both races that weekend but we weren’t able to do it; we qualified fourth for the second race but the stub axle broke on the grid, which I suppose was down to the early gremlins on the car.
Looking back, it was a fantastic time. GT3 has been a real success story and it was great to be there at the start of it all. I suppose at the time, none of us realised quite how long the success story would go on and there’s been times when I thought ‘they can’t carry on like this’, but all credit to SRO and the manufacturers who have stood by it because it’s certainly stood the test of time and got stronger. BOP can often be a bone of contention with people, but they do a good job with it and you can see by the number of different manufacturers at the front of the grid that it’s been a success.
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