London, UK – Daniel McKenzie and the Beechdean Aston Martin team finished 10th in class for 65th Total 24 Hours of Spa, the fourth round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.
Driving the No. 99 Vantage GT3 in the Pro-Am category, McKenzie and his teammates Jonny Adam, Stefan Mücke and team–owner Andrew Howard were looking to have a successful weekend.
When the green flag dropped on Saturday, the Aston Martin Racing-supported Beechdean car led the 72-strong field and remained dominant for the first 90 minutes until an accident neutralized the field and the decision to pit was taken. An hour later and the team were forced to pit again with steering wheel related issues, re-joining the field 11th (third in class).
McKenzie was the third driver to tackle this endurance epic and was able to move up a few more places during his first of four stints, but later his efforts were undone. On lap 123, during the fifth hour, the No. 99 car had a suspension problem going into the Bus Stop causing them to re-enter the pits for repairs.
The crew worked hard and managed to get them back in the race, albeit 15 laps down, in what became a race of survival with around 50% of the starters failing to finish the race.
As darkness drew and heavy rain fell the Beechdean team battled on, steadily picking up places through the night. Continuing to push hard right up until the end, McKenzie and his teammates were eventually rewarded with a top-10 finish in their class.
“It was a tough race, but we knew with the changing weather conditions, it wasn’t going to be easy," said 24-year-old McKenzie, who is represented by MB Partners. "To find out that almost 50% failed to finish the race is proof of how much hard work the Beechdean AMR guys have put in.
It was a great team-effort and they got the repairs done without us losing too much track time, so I really credit them for that. We had a great car and to start from pole gave us a great chance for a podium. The car had a decent pace, it was just a shame we got those problems early on, but a top-10 at the end was a great result for my first 24-hour experience.”