Steller Motorsport emerged from the biggest race of the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship, the 3-hour Silverstone 500 with a class win, second overall in GT4, after taking pole position in the #42 Audi R8 LMS GT4.
Drivers Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding combined to put the Steller Audi on top of the timesheets in Saturday’s combined qualifying sessions, speed and consistency the key to a performance that would see Richard Williams aboard the Audi at the front of the field for Sunday’s enduro.
Richard led, and led well for the first 30 minutes before the Steller Motorsport strategy came into play, the team playing their hand early, bringing in the Audi for the first of three mandatory driver change pitstops.
Whilst that dropped the car to the back of the field, Sennan Fielding was now aboard and was immediately on a mission posting a series of laps close to the fastest of the race and making progress up the order even before the main contenders made their first stops some time later.
The strategy saw the Audi leap back up the order as Steller kept their drivers fresh whilst others opted for longer running in the early stages.
Whilst the Audi’s position indicated at times that the strategy had not paid off, a closer look told a very different story and, as the race got deep into the final hour the strategy’s advantage emerged, other front runners leaving it late to take a final stop, hoping for a full course caution or a Safety Car that never came, Steller were on a charge under full green conditions as the Championship leaders sat for minutes on end on pit lane.
It all came down to a battle between Sennan Fielding and the Aston Martin of factory driver and GT racing legend Darren Turner, and Turner had to dig deep to see off the challenge.
Sennan produced several fastest laps of the race in pursuit, halving a 5 second gap with pace and self assurance in traffic, Turner’s response was predictable, and he did just enough to win the day, taking the GT4 victory by a handful of seconds as the Steller Audi, which had served an extra 42 seconds on pit lane by dint of their GT4 Silver Cup status, came oh so close to overcoming that handicap.
Second overall in GT4, the class win in Silver Cup, and, with additional points for the longer race, a chunk carved out of the points deficit to the Championship lead (Steller now up to second in the running order in the GT4 Teams, GT4 Drivers and Silver Cup), means that it was a very good day for the Audi squad.
“That was a hard race, but the team played it perfectly. The car was just excellent all weekend and meant that we could push from the very start. You know it’s been a good day when you can genuinely say that you’re disappointed with second place!”
“What a race! Richard did a fantastic job from the start and the Steller team’s strategy played out almost perfectly.
Max Daymond, Technical Director:
“We played our hand on strategy early and it almost paid off. We needed the race to stay full green and it did, both the drivers gave it their all.
“Their pace was excellent, and the Audi was faultless.
“A third class win in the Championship since we took on this car is a nice feeling, but the whole team performance has, I’m sure, given the rest of the field something to think about.
“They now know what we always have, we are real Championship contenders now.”