The curtain came down on the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe in Barcelona today but for Garage 59 the last race wasn’t the finale the team had hoped for.
The #159 Aston Martin of Valentin Hasse-Clot, Alex MacDowall and Nicolai Kjærgaard finished in 11th position in the Silver Cup class despite their best efforts throughout the race. The #188 Vantage, which earlier in the season was fighting for the Pro-Am Championship was taken out in the early stages by another competitor.
Kjærgaard was behind the wheel of the #159 Vantage for the start of the three-hour race in Barcelona. After losing positions during the scramble on the opening lap, he got his head down and started making his way through the field. It was a storming drive from the Dane who moved up 13 positions during his run before handing over to Hasse-Clot just after the one hour mark. Valentin continued the charge through the middle part of the race, then MacDowall took it to the chequered flag, crossing the line 11th in class.
The race was over soon after it began for the #188 Aston Martin. Alexander West, Chris Goodwin and Jonny Adam had a great start to the Endurance Cup season in the #188 Vantage, with a win at the opening race at Monza, followed up with a podium at Paul Ricard. But that was the last endurance podium for the #188.
At the start of the Barcelona race, West had got away well but after only a few laps of racing the #19 Lamborghini made an ambitious lunge at Turn 12, which spun both cars out and caused race-ending damage to the Vantage. This was a tough blow for the team who had worked late the previous night to prepare chassis damage caused when the car was hit last time out in Valencia but only showed itself during practice in Barcelona.
“We have had a great run of success for a season and a half,” said Chris Goodwin. “But the second half of the season just hasn’t gone our way, despite some exceptional performances like in the Misano sprint race. The Garage 59 team has developed well and our drivers have also come on in leaps and bounds. Alex West has benefited from the full Endurance and Sprint race programme, while our young Silver drivers are now capable of some really competitive and complete race weekends. Pace has eluded us in the past few races however and that is something that we, along with our partners at Aston Martin Racing will be working on over these next few months.”