The season-ending, three-hour Silverstone 500 on 8 November brought the delayed 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship to a close with Steller Motorsport’s #30 Audi R8 LMS lining up in a record-breaking grid of GT3, GT4 and GTC machinery.
Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding were once again entrusted with flying the flag for the Steller effort, this the final race in the Championship for the all Silver-graded Silver Cup.
The enhanced entry brought newcomers, returning Champions and others to the race, a cocktail that proved challenging for all in trying to find a clean lap in traffic, the introduction of the GTC Ferraris a particular challenge, the cars more powerful, and faster in a straight line than the GT3s, but with far less performance under braking or through the turns – that led to multiple incidents as the experienced GT3 pilots tried to find a way through.
That was not an issue early in the race for Richard Williams though as he carved his way from a sixth row starting position up to eighth after a hectic lap one and a superb sixth by lap 3.
With multiple incidents out on track for other runners, progress was tough to find thereafter, the team though learning a huge amount about the new Audi, in particular with the assistance on site once again of Audi Sport Customer Racing.
With the season finale happening far deeper into the winter months than planned , track temperature proved to be a problem for many runners, Steller no different as the thee hours provided a steep learning curve on the effects of a frigid track surface on tyre performance.
The latter part of the race though found Sennan Fielding back on the charge and able to push again.
He would catch and pass one of the much-rated McLarens whilst also fending off a hard-charging and well-driven Mercedes AMG, exactly the kind of ‘battle of the brands’ that makes GT3 racing such a draw for racers and spectators alike.
At the flag there was satisfaction from the Steller Motorsport team at a top ten finish, and motivation beyond with the sure and certain knowledge that every minute on track in 2020 will pay dividends next season:
Team Principal Gary Blackham:
“Everybody hopes that 2021 serves up a much more stable situation for racing and beyond – after the frustrations of 2020 we are looking forward with some real confidence that we have a very good package indeed, a proven car in a highly professional team with real and meaningful support from the factory.
“In motorsport everyone looks for the edge over the competition that can pay off across a race, or a Championship season. We know that the Audi can deliver that and we’ll be working to bring a programme back in 2021 to prove it!”
Technical Director Max Daymond:
“It’s been a tough year on most fronts but one of the highlights has been the efforts put in by the whole Steller team to help develop our new car.
“We’ve seen flashes of what we now know can be delivered and look forward now to finalising the test and race packages that can give the benefit of all of that hard work to customers in 2021.
“All of the same lessons apply too to the GT4 car, already a winning prospect, and everything we learn with the GT3 car can help too in pushing the GT4 forward as well.”