Last race for Farmer - Barnes partnership in Dubai

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer will contest their final race together as a driver pairing at the Dubai 24 hours in January.

The decision to go their separate ways prior to the start of the 2018 British GT Championship season marks the end of a three and a half year partnership - in which time Jon's driver coaching and racing skills have helped Mark to progress from struggling towards the rear end of the grid in the Caterham R300 Championship in 2014, to an unforgettable highlight of winning together in the British GT Championship at Spa-Francorchamps in 2016.

Over the last three seasons of racing together in British GT, Jon and Mark scored 7 podium finishes as a driver pairing and they finished in 4th position overall in both the 2016 and 2017 British GT Championships.

Fittingly, on the final race weekend of the 2017 British GT Championship at Donington Park GP circuit, the pair of drivers recorded their best performance to date - topping the majority of the official timed sessions over the weekend.
Jon and Mark claimed their maiden 'combined qualifying' pole position at Donington and Mark was able to lead the whole of the first stint of the race, from lights-out to the pitstop for the first time. Despite a 10-second pitstop success penalty, they finished in second position, just 5 seconds behind the race winners - with Jon also setting fastest lap of the race during the final hour.

Jon said "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Mark for all that he has done for me over the past three and a half years that we have been working together. Not just in racing but also with help and advice in my personal life. We became very good friends during this period of time and I am sure that we will remain good friends in future."

"Mark showed a lot of belief in me, bringing me back to British GT as his 'Pro' driver in 2015 despite knowing that I had barely raced at all since winning the British GT Championship in 2008."

"I am really proud of how Mark progressed during our time as a pairing in this championship - we struggled to get up to speed during the first year, but each season we have continued to make big steps forward with our competitiveness. I think many now rate Mark as one of the best Amateur drivers in British GT, he is consistently right at the top of the timesheets which is an epic transformation."

"Mark's improvement hasn't happened by chance, we have both been fully committed to racing during this period of time. From spending days and days doing karting and ice driving during the off-season, to spending tens of hours on the simulator between testing and the races - we did whatever was required to be able to compete at this level."

"Of course I am disappointed that we won't be racing together in British GT in 2018, especially given how well we ended the 2017 season. It's frustrating that we were never quite able to put together a full-on championship challenge, which was always our goal. Rest assured, I'll be watching with great interest to see how Mark does in 2018 and I wish him the best of luck."

"I am in the process of formalising my racing plans for 2018, so watch this space!"

Mark said "Jon has been a big part of my life for the past 3 years. Although the British GT calendar is just 7 weekends, there is so much more work behind the scenes… the sim work, the karting, the analysis, the debriefs, the travelling…. we have spent so much time together, shared so many ups and downs, he will leave a big void."

"Jon is an extremely talented driver. He had won pretty much every championship he entered until he met me! His hard work, discipline and attention to detail have rubbed off on me, and helped us to deliver our pole position at the 2017 season decider at Donington, where his dominance of the pro-driver field was evident throughout the weekend. I have learnt loads, I owe him tons, and will miss him by the bucket load.”

Source material - Jon Barnes
Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey
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