TF Sport confirm GT3 Le Mans Cup and GT Open campaigns

Monday, February 01, 2016

Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey will lead TF Sport’s 2016 tour of the European continent in the newly-launched Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup and International GT Open.

TF Sport’s presence in British and European motorsport is expanding following a season of exploratory outings in high profile sportscar championships both at home and abroad and the official Aston Martin Racing Partner Team can now confirm that it will dovetail British GT, Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup and International GT Open commitments during the forthcoming season.

The International GT Open and Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup calendars feature many of the same circuits, but the latter is a brand new concept derived by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) that’s reserved for GT3-spec cars and centred around bronze category ‘gentleman’ drivers.

The Michelin GT3 Cup will run in tandem with the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), but also boasts a prestigious slot on the support bill for the 24 Hours of Le Mans (18-19 June), with a typical race weekend consisting of two one-hour free practice sessions, one 30-minute qualifying session and a single two-hour race.

Yoluc and Hankey spent the latter half of 2015 familiarising themselves with the International GT Open and the driver pairing raced their TF Sport-prepared Aston Martin to the top step of the podium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Italy’s ‘Temple of Speed’, Monza, before finishing fifth during a one-off ELMS appearance at Circuito do Estoril in Portugal, despite arriving with no prior experience of the former Formula 1 Grand Prix track.

Confidence is high as a result, although both drivers acknowledge that 2016 will be another learning year and Yoluc said: “I enjoyed the International GT Open even though I was the most inexperienced guy around, because having to compete against such talented drivers helped me learn and I also got to visit amazing European tracks. The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup is more about amateur drivers and that’s what attracted me the most, but the fact it runs on many of the same circuits at the GT Open is also a draw.

“Contesting last year’s ELMS finale was very effective for me, as I started fast and was consistent on both slicks and intermediates. I feel I can fight with the other bronze drivers in the GT LM Cup and I’m confident in the ability of Euan (Hankey) and TF Sport. Of course, it will be another learning year. I have only had one full season so far and, while GT Open will be tough, I believe we can target a podium or two, as well as race wins and podiums in the GT3 LM Cup when we get to more familiar tracks.”

Hankey added: “It’s going to be another first for me, as we will be in a new championship that will be a good test for Salih. We will see how he measures up and I know he’s excited about that, and my role will be to get the Aston Martin working well and to do the best I can in the races.

“TF Sport has done a fantastic job with the car and, after spending the latter half of last year with the team in the International GT Open and ELMS, it made a lot of sense to remain, as consistency will help Salih's development. He will be facing stiffer opposition than ever before and this will be his first full season, and my only expectation of him is to continue learning and improving, because I know he has the potential within him.”

TF Sport Team Principal, Tom Ferrier, said: “Salih and Euan will contest the International GT Open as they did last year, as well as the brand new Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, and it’s really exciting for TF Sport to have so much visibility on the European continent.

“These entries come off the back of the success we had during the latter half of the season and an encouraging outing in the European Le Mans Series; we got a lot of enjoyment from competing in the GT Open with its relaxed format and high levels of competition, and the GT3 LM Cup is an exciting prospect because it’s geared around bronze drivers, there’s good prize money and the mouth-watering prospect of a 24 Hours of Le Mans entry if you win."

Ferrier added: “It will still be a learning year for Salih as part of a longer term development programme, but we will obviously try to get results and I believe we can start on a fairly strong footing in both championships once we’re up-to-speed in testing with our upgraded Aston Martins.” 

Source material - TF Sport
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