Heartache this time round for TF Sport at Le Mans

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

It wasn’t to be this year for TF Sport in what was its second 24 Hours of Le Mans. From the outset, the team battled on, but early safety car interventions, damage to the #90 Aston Martin Vantage GTE during the night and finally a mechanical failure resulted in a late race retirement from the toughest event on the calendar.

Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and Charlie Eastwood paired up once again in what was the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season. Having finished a fighting second at Spa-Francorchamps, the British-based team believed for a podium position in the 24 Hours of Le Mans was a real possibility.

Lining up sixth in the LMGTE Am class after a strong performance from all three drivers in qualifying, Euan took the start of the race, immediately gaining two positions to run fourth in class. The timing of two safety cars however resulted the team dropping down to eighth following Euan’s first stint and a double from Salih.

Charlie resumed with the team maintaining position into the night until debris from another car struck the Aston Martin ahead of the stop on lap 149, where the team went to work replacing the bonnet. The impact however had damaged the bonnet pins and it took the team several minutes to fit the spare. Undaunted, the team and drivers pushed on only for a starter motor issue to cost further time in the morning; the team having worked around the problem from lap 274.

Having lost time in the pits, a dream result was no longer a possibility and with the race coming to its conclusion, Euan took over for a double stint with 22 hours complete. Unfortunately, he made a small mistake, and this resulted in a high-speed run though the gravel trap and subsequent driveshaft failure. Despite the best efforts of the team, the race was over with less than an hour of running to go.

Tom Ferrier, TF Sport Director

“What could go wrong went wrong this year which is a huge shame. We lost nearly 30 minutes in the pits with problems and that took us out of contention and we just wanted to bring the car home. Euan made a mistake sadly and this resulted in us not finishing the race. It wasn’t to be, so we look forward to our third visit to Le Mans at the end of the WEC Super Season.”

Salih Yoluc

“Everything went wrong but we kept pushing on. I ran early on in the race and even then it was a real battle on the track and I was caught up in slow zones that cost us over a lap. I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support, sometimes it’s not meant to be.”

Euan Hankey

“Unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it to the finish due to my mistake in the last stint which popped a drive shaft. We were already out of contention having suffered multiple issues. I want to apologise and thank all of the boys at TF Sport who worked tirelessly over the two weeks and deserved a finish. The same goes to my very fast teammates who gave everything despite the setbacks.”

Charlie Eastwood

“It wasn’t the result that we’d hoped for as the race threw various hurdles, the last of which we fell at in the last hour. The team and drivers all showed great courage to keep pushing, even when we were out of contention. Now I’m looking forward to the rest of the season as we’ve not scratched the surface of what we can do as a team.”

Source materials - TF Sport
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