TF Sports starts its 2016 British GT campaign with a win

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

TF Sport commenced its charge towards the 2016 Pirelli British GT Championship with a popular victory for Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam on the world-famous Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit (16-17 April).

The teammates ensured the #17 MSW-liveried entry was the car to beat in free practice, topping the times in the first session with Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer in the sister #11 car hot on their heels in P3.

Such was Johnston and Adam’s pace that they went into qualifying as the overwhelming favourites for pole; the pairing set two benchmark times and occupied the top spot for the most part, but were ultimately shuffled back to third in the dying moments.

Barnes and Farmer, meanwhile, were disappointed to conclude qualifying in seventh, as their free practice times suggested a position on the first two rows of the grid was possible, but Farmer was unable to record a fully representative time in traffic and would have to work hard to make amends in Sunday’s (17 April) race.

As always, it was up to the Am drivers to take the start of the two-hour contest, and both Johnston and Farmer valiantly held station in third and seventh respectively during the opening laps.

Johnston, who gained a place when the Jon Minshaw in second made an early unscheduled stop, would lose track position again as snap oversteer set in, but the Geordie racer did well to keep the chasing Lee Mowle at bay right up until the race was neutralised under Code 80 conditions after approximately 40 minutes.

Farmer, meanwhile, inherited sixth and was busy fending off the advancing Ryan Ratcliffe for the majority of his stint; the Bath-based driver eventually succumbed to the pressure, but stood firm while defending against Andrew Howard and carving his way past lapped traffic.

There was a hive of activity in the Brands Hatch pit lane as teams carried out their compulsory driver changes during the caution period, and an inspired strategic decision by TF Sport to delay Johnston and Adam’s stop promoted the #17 Aston Martin to the head of the field.

Adam went on to demonstrate why he’s the reigning British GT Champion and an Aston Martin Racing factory driver by lapping comfortably quicker than his nearest challengers and stretching his advantage throughout his stint, which was cut short by a red flag stoppage, while Barnes worked his way into sixth and was in the mix for a podium result when the race was halted.

Adam said: “It was good to start the year off with so many points on the board. Sure, a bit of luck came our way, but you have to take that, and Derek (Johnston) drove really well, which is great! It’s all to do with confidence and that feeds through into the team too. Not only that, but his qualifying pace is strong and we’ve been working so hard on that in pre-season testing. It has been a massive change for him, particularly where driving style is concerned. The next round is at Rockingham, where we tested well. It’s a track that Derek likes, but the 20-second success penalty means it will be hard to get a result. If we aim for a top five, that will be a good weekend. On the whole, today exceeded my expectations; we had good pace in the car and TF Sport worked very well.”

Farmer reflected on his race by saying: "My stint was hard, as i was constantly battling somebody. First is was Ryan Ratcliffe in the Optimum Motorsport Audi and I then had Andrew Howard in the Beechdean Aston Martin to deal with. He had a couple of goes and almost got passed me when the full course yellow started, but I kept him at bay. I struggled for grip and had to drive quite carefully, but it was a good run and Jon (Barnes) did well during his stint. We had a top four in us, but sixth is a good start."

TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier, said: “Derek Johnston’s performance was instrumental today and I think he has now emerged as the quickest Am driver. His turn of speed has made it easier for us and for Jonny (Adam), who is widely recognised as one of the quickest GT drivers around. It’s a much better start to the season than we had last year and I think Jon (Barnes) and Mark (Farmer) have the potential to do even better also. They would have been pushing the winning #17 car if they had maximised qualifying.

“Ultimately, we were on the right side of fortune on this occasion and we timed the driver-change perfectly, conducting the stop when the pit lane was completely clear. We had the race covered from there. Previous years prove that you win the British GT Championship with consistency. You can’t win every time so the approach of targeting top five finishes is unchanged.”

The next instalment of the 2016 Pirelli British GT Championship will be held at Rockingham Motor Speedway in two weeks’ time (29-30 April).

Source material - TF Sport
Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey / British GT
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes