3rd Overall In Rookie Season - October 1st, 2007

After an eventful first season in the British GT championship Ben finished an impressive 3rd overall with team mate Guy Harrington after the rookie pairing scored 2 race wins and 8 further podiums in what has been a very competitive and closely fought championship.

Rockingham hosted the final 2 rounds of the championship and with the twisty infield not suiting the DBRS9 the team were going to have to work hard to get the right set up to give Ben & Guy the best chance of some good points. Friday testing however, spoiled the plan with heavy rain all day not allowing the team to test any dry set up options. When the predicted sun came on Saturday in time for qualifying the team were immediately on the back foot and qualifying proved the lack of pace that the Aston would have all weekend. Ben qualified 10th for race 1 – albeit the first of the Barwell cars with Guy putting the car 8th on the grid for race 2.

Race 1 started well with Ben making up 2 places through the high speed turn 1 only to be forced wide at the hairpin and by the Cadena Aston pushing him back to 14th behind both team mates. On lap 2 Ben had made it back past the Cadena Aston & RPM Viper to put him behind the #2 & #1 Astons in 10th & 11th, with the CIM Ferrari just ahead. With a quick move past Tom Alexander’s DBRS9 Ben then started to pressurise championship contender Drayson who in turn was pushing Lester hard in the Ferrari. These three way battle continued for several laps with Ben pulling alongside Drayson several times only to be blocked at the next apex. On lap 8 both Astons made it past the Lester Ferrari but Ben was still unable to pass a very defensive Drayson and as the 2 cars exited the final corner on lap 20 Ben was a little keen to get past and span the car in the middle of the banking. A very nervous team then watched as the following cars missed Ben my millimetres and when Ben got space to move again he was down to 14th. 2 laps later Ben pitted and handed the car to Guy who pushed hard to the end of the race making up to place to finish 12th.

Race 2 started well for Guy with a consistent lapping holding him in 8th for the first 20 minutes. With Ben due to take over in the second half the pair were looking good for a strong points finish as Ben had regularly made up several places in the second half of the previous rounds. Unfortunately the bad luck of Saturday continued and on lap 20 Guy span at the hairpin whilst pushing hard to pass the 7th place Team RPM Porsche of Matt Griffin. Dropping back to 12th Guy then got pushed into a spin again by the Jones Ascari 2 laps later at the exit of the final corner. With Guy pitting on the next lap Bens work was going to be cut out to get them up in the points for a chance at the title. This was a position Ben often relished and immediately set about posting consistently quick times to get onto the back of the cars ahead. As the laps past Ben held no punches and forced his way up to 9th with 15 minutes to run. There was still a 12 second gap to the cars in the points but Ben proved his worth and 5 minutes later his was only 2 seconds adrift of the battling Drayson Aston & Keating Ascari. Unfortunately Bens progress was halted on the next lap as a faulty wheel speed sensor was causing the car to lose power at high revs and Ben was forced to back off the pace in the hope he could limp to the finish. This he managed and after a disappointing weekend for the rookie pairing brought the car home in 9th place, just outside the points for only the second time this season.

Despite not scoring any points from the final 2 rounds Ben & Guy had done enough in the previous races to secure themselves enough points for 3rd place in the championship just behind the 2 pre-season championship favourites of Drayson/Cocker (#1 Barwell Aston Martin) and Mortimer/Ellis (#6 Team RPM Viper).

In reflection on his first season in British GT Ben said, ”I am pleased with what I have achieved this year. There is obviously some disappointment in not winning the championship but there was some very strong opposition to contend with, all of whom had several years GT experience. I am now hungrier than ever to come back next year and win the championship, and hopefully Guy will be keen to join me in that goal. I have learnt a lot from this year and despite not always having the fastest car the team have always made up for that deficit with their professionalism and commitment. Barwell have definitely proven time and time again that there were the best team in British GT this year and deserve the Team crown which they took with 3 races to spare.”

Ben will now be taking a few weeks out of the car to spend with his family and plans to start working on his plans for 2008 over the winter. If you would like to be part of Bens 2008 Championship winning attempt please contact him through his email to discuss any commercial opportunities that are available..

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