A magnificent drive by Devon Modell sadly came to nothing when an alternator failure struck his Ecurie Ecosse Powered by Black Bull BMW Z4 GT3 during Round 3 of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Circuit Paul Ricard (19-20 June).
Modell and the Barwell Motorsport-run Ecurie Ecosse team went to the South of France with hopes of a top six finish in the Pro Am category, believing the high temperatures, circuit characteristics and a favourable shift in the championship’s Balance of Performance (BoP) would all advantage the BMW Z4 GT3 in the six-hour/1000km endurance race.
A relative lack of pace over a single lap resigned the legendary Scottish team to 15th in class and 39th overall on the grid, but, despite a barren start to the 2015 season at Monza and Silverstone, Modell and his teammates, Alasdair McCaig and Oliver Bryant, believed progress could be made in the race itself.
Modell took the opening 60-minute stint and, although an aborted start and early Safety Car intervention hindered his charge, the young Kent racer picked up several places and sat in 21st position, trapped behind an equally pacey Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 as the first round of stops approached.
He had driven admirably to match the pace of the top 15 runners and Ecurie Ecosse was set fair, until an alternator charging issue developed two laps into McCaig’s first stint and necessitated a lengthy pit stop.
A valiant effort saw the repaired Black Bull-liveried BMW return to the fray some eight laps down on the leaders and, with a podium finish now out of reach, attention turned to preparations for the championship’s blue riband event – the Total 24 Hours of Spa (21-26 July).
The remainder of the six-hour enduro was used as an extended test session, Modell and McCaig alternating before Bryant concluded the race with a double stint, driving to 14th in the Pro Am category.
Somewhat underwhelmed, Modell said: “We definitely didn’t have the best of times at Circuit Paul Ricard, as the alternator problem denied us a strong finish. The Ecurie Ecosse team did a very good job at repairing the problem and ensuring the car was capable of reaching the finish, and all we had to do as drivers was keep circulating and learn as much as we could for the 24 Hours of Spa, picking up any pieces as others faltered.
“We went into the weekend with high hopes after a frustrating start to the season and, while we didn’t feature that highly in qualifying, I was able to progress nicely in race trim, using the BMW Z4’s strengths through the corners to make up for its straight-line speed deficit. It all looked positive and we matched those at the head of the field for pace, which indicated that a top six finish was achievable. There was a high rate of attrition and we used a strong strategy to make up a lap, but 14th in class was all we could muster.”