CHALLENGING START TO ELMS CAMPAIGN FOR TF SPORT AT 2021 SEASON OPENER
TF Sport scored vital points on their return to the international racing scene last weekend, at the opening round of the 2021 European Le Mans Series, at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona. The event saw the team’s LMP2 debut with Racing Team Turkey and also the return to the series, this time with the new Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
The week started out with strong performances from both the #95 GTE and the #34 Racing Team Turkey LMP2 in the early practice sessions. The TF Aston Martin Vantage topped the LMGTE timesheets during FP1, courtesy of factory driver Ross Gunn and Salih Yoluc lead overall in the Bronze driver session, by quite some margin.
Pro driver’s Harry Tincknell and Gunn completed the individual class qualifying sessions. After only using a single set of tyres, to save as much fresh rubber as possible for race day, Tincknell placed the #34 second in Pro-Am and eighth overall. Gunn pushed as much as he could out of #95, to set a P5 grid slot.
The #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE crew maximised their potential during the four-hour battle and saw huge improvements from the #95 Am, Hartshorne. Having had minimal running in the Vantage GTE before the race week, Hartshorne shortly got to grips with the British machinery, thanks to the team’s set-up knowledge and guidance from his pro teammates Gunn and Ollie Hancock. The Aston entry crossed the line in eighth.
Racing Team Turkey’s LMP2 unfortunately made contact with a competitor in the opening stint, leading to some front end damage. However, Yoluc managed to keep #34 on the lead lap. Further disaster stuck for the team during the pit stop to switch driver to Tincknell, where a starter motor failure meant the crew had to bring the LMP2 in to the box, to fit a new part. After losing minimal time, #34 was sent back on track to utilise the remaining laps in preparation for the next round and took the flag sixth in class and P15 overall. Between Tincknell and Charlie Eastwood, the Racing Team Turkey entry was regularly the fastest car on track during the latter half of the race, showing great promise for the remainder of the season.
Round two of the European Le Mans Series takes place at the Red Bull Ring, Austria on May 16.
Salih Yoluc, #34 Bronze driver - “Unfortunately our race ended within the first hour, after I made contact with a competitor. The timing of the safety car was very unlucky, as I had already committed to a move when it was called out. I take full responsibility and I apologise for what happened. I know we will come back stronger at Red Bull Ring.”
Tom Ferrier, TF Sport - “It wasn’t quite the weekend we were hoping for. But we have learnt a lot on both sides of the garage and know that we ultimately have good pace in our driver line-ups. John’s development throughout the week was really promising and we are looking to continue this going forward.”