Belfast Telegraph

Eastwood eyes Silverstone joy after challenging German test

 

By Sammy Hamill

Having survived "the green hell" and come away from Germany with a second podium place in a week, Charlie Eastwood would settle for a similar result in this weekend's Blancpain European Endurance Championship round at Silverstone.

The Porsche Carrera Cup champion from Belfast experienced the notorious Nurburgring-Norschieife circuit for the first time at the weekend, combating sun, rain and fog to complete the 24-hour race with second place in a GT4 Porsche Cayman run by the German Four Motors Concept-car team.

"I fully understand now why it's called the green hell," said Eastwood. "The race throws everything at you and it's a massive challenge just to get to the finish. To come away with a podium place was amazing."

It followed on from his second place in the TF Sport's Aston Martin GTE on his World Endurance Championship debut at Spa in Belgium.

Now as his hectic season continues, Eastwood is back in more familiar territory at Silverstone where he switches to the Oman Racing GT3 Aston Martin he shares with Ahmad Al Harthy and Euan McKay in the Silver Cup division.

They finished fifth in the first round at Monza, their performance compromised by pit stop problems, but Eastwood is confident they have the pace to finish on the podium at what he regards as his 'home' circuit.

"We learned a lot in Monza with some great points to take from the weekend and I'm hopeful we can build on this going to Silverstone, which is essentially my home track. The aim is to get on the Silver Cup podium this time," he said.

Eastwood joins fellow Ulstermen and European GT3 regulars Steven Kane and Andrew Watson on the huge 52-car grid for Sunday's three-hour race at the British Grand Prix circuit.

Kane leads the Bentley team and shares the new M-Sport prepared GT3 Continental with Jules Gounon and, for the last time, Guy Smith.

The British driver, a former Le Mans winner, is standing down after this weekend to concentrate on a supporting role with customer teams.

Watson, who is also racing in the Blancpain sprint series with the Belgian BMW team, returns to the Garage 59 McLaren team, where he partners Come Ledogar and Ben Barnicoat in a 650S.

Belfast Telegraph

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