Silverstone // 07.04.13
After a late deal to join the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge, ex-Formula Renault racer Andrew Jarman made a winning start to his GT racing career by taking a debut victory at Silverstone alongside team mate Olivier Bouche, much to the delight of his Stratton Motorsport team and sponsors TXM Recruit, Raildoor Solutions and Railcare.
Making a return to racing after an 18 month break due to injury and his first ever time in a GT4 Aston Martin, Jarman had just two 45 minute sessions during Friday Practice to adapt to his new surroundings before qualifying on Saturday.
Approaching qualifying Jarman commented:
“So far the weekend has gone as planned, we had two sessions in the car yesterday [Friday] but already I’m starting to feel at home with the car and Olivier [Bouche] and the team has been superb to help me adapt to the car which is very different to driving the Renault [BARC Formula Renault]”.
Qualifying took place over 30 minutes with both drivers required to complete a minimum of 3 laps each. Starting in the car, Jarman complete a total of 7 laps with a best time of 1:03.3 and P3 on the grid before handing over to team mate Olivier Bouche.
As many drivers took on new tyres before the end of the session, most improved their lap times in the closing stages with team mate Olivier moving to pole position before ex-British GT Champion Calum Lockie took the top spot which he held until the close of the session.
As the chequered flag came out, the No22 car of Jarman and Bouche [Olivier] finished in 3rd place, setting the scene for an exciting race in the afternoon.
Commenting after qualifying Jarman said:
“To be 3rd in my first ever GT4 race is a great result for me, after warming up the car I only had 2 flying laps to get a good time and made a mistake heading into Copes on my second lap which was frustrating but it’s all part of the learning curve”.
“My time was an improvement of over a second from yesterday [Friday Practice] and I know there is a lot more time in me so I’m happy and Oliver did a fantastic job when everyone changed tyres to keep us 3rd on the grid”.
“I’ve learnt so much already this weekend and now have my first ever pitstop to look forward to, as it was a late deal I’ve not had chance to practice but the team have been great to talk me through the process so I’m confident we won’t have any issues”.
It was Jarman’s team mate Olivier Bouche who took the honours of starting the 100 minute race which he did in convincing style, taking the lead on the first lap and putting in a series of impressive laps to build up a healthy cushion before the first of two mandatory pit stops on lap 39.
Staying in the car for the second short stint, the No22 car of Bouche/Jarman maintained its position at the front of the field before stopping again on lap 45 for the final stop and driver change.
With 50 minutes of the race still to go and another faultless pit stop by the Stratton Motorsport Team, Jarman jumped into the car for his run to the flag, still in the lead of the race. However the second placed No24 Vantage Racing car of Chris Kemp and Tom Black were soon on the charge and closing down Jarman as he took some time to settle into driving the car on heavy fuel.
Added to this was overcoming the traffic from lapped cars, something Jarman managed quickly, putting his years of karting and single seater racing experience to good use.
Just after 20 minutes to go Jarman found his rhythm and was able to control the gap in the closing stages of the race as he continued to feel more at home in the car, improving his best lap time by over 6 tenths of a second.
By the 86th lap Jarman had pegged the gap to just under 6 seconds to the No24 car of Kemp/Black which he held until the chequered flag to take his first GT win much to the delighted of the Stratton Motorsport Team and team mate Olivier Bouche.
Talking after his victory Jarman commented:
“Amazing, I really didn’t expect this heading into the weekend, everything was so last minute I was just happy to even be on the grid so to come away with a win is unbelievable. I have to say a massive thank you to my sponsors TXM Recruit and Raildoor Solutions, Roger, Dave and everyone at Stratton Motorsport for their support and a special thanks to my team mate Olivier [Bouche] who’s been a huge help this weekend to help me adapt to the car and endurance racing”.
“Finally I must thank my friends and family for all their support, especially my Father who’s helped put this deal together and supported my racing career since Karting”.
“Driving a GT4 car is very different to Formula Renault and I’ve had to completely change my driving style which hasn’t been easy and still isn’t perfect, so I know I have a lot more speed to come and hoping we can be there for the next round”.
“It took me a while to settle into the race, the car was heavy still with fuel and I wanted to try and look after the tyres. I knew we had a cushion but just blocked out any thoughts of winning and focused on finding my rhythm I was then able to control the gap to the flag. This is a fantastic result for all the hard work it’s taken to get here and I just hope we can now secure the budget for remainder of the season”
“I’m going to enjoy the moment and then Monday will be back to the day job [Divisional Manager – Motorsport] at TXM Recruit and working on securing the budget for the season so fingers crossed!”