There were contrasting emotions on Sunday morning after the results of the European Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Silverstone were revised in the early hours. While JMW Motorsport were left more than a little disappointed to have victory taken away by the stewards for running an unhomologated front splitter, Beechdean AMR boss Andrew Howard was elated after being promoted from second to the top spot on only his second start in the ELMS alongside Alex MacDowall and Daren Turner.
Speaking ahead of the British GT opener at Brands Hatch, Howard said; “I found out about it at around quarter to twelve, the team manager phoned me and was very apologetic, but I didn’t mind! I feel like when I won my first race in GT3 with the DBRS9 at Rockingham and you just can’t describe it, it’s such a cool feeling.
“For me, it doesn’t make any difference [not to get to stand on the top step] at all. I’d be happy not to go on the podium if I got the points. I’m absolutely buzzing!”
Howard also had consolation words for JMW, who rolled the strategy dice and looked to have sealed their first victory since 2012 until the steward’s intervention.
“I think JMW, especially Rob Smith did a fantastic stint, there’s no way I could have kept with him, so on the road they were absolutely brilliant and all respect to the drivers, but when it comes to the technical aspect of it, that’s why we have really good teams,” he added.
JMW’s Rory Butcher thought he had secured his first win in the category too, only to discover the bad news after he had flown back to Scotland. It was a bitter pill for the 29-year-old to swallow, particularly as the splitter – a Le Mans spec with two turning vanes to direct airflow, rather than the six mandated by ELMS regulations – actually put himself, Smith and Andrea Bertolini at a performance disadvantage.
“Obviously it’s very disappointing to win and then have it taken away from you, but we proved this weekend that we can run up front with the best of them, and that gives us confidence even though we don’t have the result to show for it,” he said. “Myself, Andrea and Rob have worked so well together from when we first met at Paul Ricard and I know we’ll come back even more determined at Imola. Had it not been for the problem in scrutineering, we could be happy with a very good weekend’s work.”