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British GT’s Hector Lester teams up with Allan Simonsen’s brother

Thursday, January 16 2014

Avon Tyres British GT Championship regular Hector Lester will team up with Benny Simonsen, the brother of his late team mate Allan, in the Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia for the 2014 season, which opens at Oulton Park this Easter (19/21 April).

After the tragic loss of Allan Simonsen at the Le Mans 24 Hour race last June, it was widely expected that the 59-year-old would retire. However after speaking to Allan's brother Benny late last year, a new partnership was formed.

"It took shape at the SRO Awards in December," Lester said. "I think Benny had someone who was able to fund a package for another series, but we got chatting and all of a sudden things felt right again. It was catharsis for everyone involved. The name Simonsen stays on the car, as does the Danish flag. I think we'll get a big smile from above too you know.

"Benny has our full support and assistance, we're a fun team, and we've said, 'let's give it a go'. We're not commercially responsible to anyone and just out to enjoy our driving. I think this really bridges the gap after all that happened in 2013, and gives us all a leg-up to reality after the pain of losing Allan."

Lester's British GT career stretches back to 2004, as does his loyalty to Ferrari and the Simonsen family. Paying tribute to his former team mate, he said: "Allan was our team. What Allan wanted, Allan got and it left a massive hole in our life when he was taken from us. We never had a contract together, it was a beautiful relationship built on trust and understanding, and we're looking forward to having Benny join us and be part of the family."

Benny Simonsen, 30, has raced a variety of machines in the past five years, most notably a World Endurance Championship outing in a GT2 Porsche alongside James Watt in 2012, and as a regular competitor in the Danish Endurance Championship in a Renault Clio Cup car.

"It was a mix of emotions when Hector contacted me," he said. "It was nice of him to give me a shot and of course I wanted to drive, but I had to think and ultimately I believe it is a nice tribute to Allan. Obviously you'd like it to be in better circumstances, but it's nice to keep the relationship going and I'm looking forward to the first race."

"The only time I've raced at Oulton was in a Fiat 500 race, so I'm going to be in the deep end as we're not testing before then. It's a tricky circuit and we're definitely the underdog, but Allan did well round here so we'll have a good setup in the bag at least!"

Tickets for the opening round of the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Oulton Park on 19/21 April are available from £18, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.