BILLERICAY driver Daniel Brown is hoping an increase in straight line speed will let him take on Ferrari in their own backyard.

Brown surrendered performance on the straights to the Italian cars at Silverstone in the opening round of the European Le Mans Series at the weekend.

But the Gulf Racing UK mechanics are working hard to close the gap ahead of the second round at Imola — Ferrari’s home circuit — on May 17 and 18.

“We were the only Aston in the GTE class and we hoped that would work in our favour but we did not have a quicker car,” said Brown (pictured).

“The car is really good but the Ferrari’s seem to have a competitive edge in a straight line.

“It was frustrating because we could get them in the corners but they came back on the straights and undid our hard work.

“But the team is working this week on the engine set up to try to get more power and getting less drag from the car’s aerodynamics package.

“We are hoping the car will be more competitive and on the money as we were only half a second a lap slower at Silverstone.”

The Gulf Racing UK team deliberately qualified at the back grid to give amateur driver Roald Goethe clear track for eight laps before he had to deal with the faster LMP2 cars.

With most of the teams fielding their professional drivers first it helped Gulf catch up when Brown and professional driver Stuart Hall took over behind the wheel during the four-hour endurance race.

But the gains they made were neutralised when the safety car came out and the race finished as a 15-minute sprint.

Gulf’s Aston Martin Vantage V8 finished 11th in the GTE class after completing 110 laps of the Northamptonshire circuit, with the Italian AF Corse team taking the class win in their Ferrari 458 Italia.