Ulster trio chase Euro points as they home in on Silverstone
Andrew Watson and Charlie Eastwood, recently selected as Junior Drivers with the Aston Martin factory team, are back on 'home' ground this weekend as the Blancpain European GT Endurance Championship descends on Silverstone.
The two young Ulstermen will both drive GT3 Vantages in the two-hour race on the British Grand Prix circuit, Watson sharing the Garage 59 car with Jonny Adam and Come Ledogar, and Eastwood in the TF Sport Oman Racing team with Salih Yuloc and Ahmad Al Harthy. They will be joined on the grid by a third Ulster driver, the vastly experienced Steven Kane, who leads the Bentley team alongside Jordan Pepper and Jules Gounon.
It was 24-year-old Watson, from Donaghmore, who figured highest in the opening round of the series, finishing ninth on his debut with the latest Aston Martin Vantage.
"We had a strong start to the season in Monza and showed that we can battle at the front," said Watson, who spent the early part of his career as part of the McLaren development programme.
"Scoring points in our first race in the new car and finishing as the highest Aston Martin has given everyone in the team a big boost.
"But there is plenty of room for improvement."
Eastwood, the former British Porsche Carrera Cup champion from Belfast, switches to the European series after finishing second in the GTE/am class in the first round of the World Endurance Championship at Spa in Belgium last weekend.
Kane and his Bentley team-mates were 12th at Monza after starting the season in Australia and America but are now back to the familiar surroundings of Silverstone, where Co Down born Kane has been a winner in the past.
Meanwhile, the daunting Italian Grand Prix circuit at Monza is where Wayne Boyd will be this weekend for round two of the European Le Mans Championship.
He will also double up for the United Autosports team to contest the Michelin Le Mans Cup with American Mike Guasch.
Boyd, who was runner-up in the Asian Le Mans LMP3 series over the winter, and team-mates Tommy Erdos and Garret Grist were a disappointing sixth in the first round at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, but Monza happens to be one of the Templepatrick driver's favourite venues and he has been on pole there in the UA team's Ligier prototype in the past.