GT Cup title within Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz's reach at Donington Park
TF Sport will be looking to wrap up the GT Cup’s GTO title at the East Midland’s Donington Park this weekend with its driver pairing of Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz, as Andy Houghton and Phil Glew make a welcome return to the championship in the sister Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 (19-20 September).
Securing a vital race victory to extend their lead atop of the standings last time out on the world-famous Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit last month, Bailey and Schulz moved to within touching distance of wrapping up the GTO title with one meeting to spare.
Opening their 2015 GT Cup account with a hat-trick of podiums - two of which included race wins - in the East Midlands in April, Bailey and Schulz are well acquainted with the fast-flowing Donington Park and puts them in good steed for this weekend.
Holding a significant advantage over their nearest rival in the standings, Bailey and Schulz’s focus is on scoring enough points to wrap up the GTO title this weekend.
“It’s going to be a tough weekend for us in that we are up against some stiff competition, but we are going out there to hopefully wrap up the GTO title,” said Bailey. “There are a total of five races left this season, three of which are this weekend, and we currently hold a 110 point advantage over the chaps in the Ferrari 458 in second position, and, with 150 points on offer, our aim is to get at least 41 points this weekend and come away with another strong weekend.
“With every weekend, our main aim is to get on the podium and we will have some good scraps with the guys in our class no doubt again this weekend. We have a success penalty from our win at Brands Hatch last time out, so we are slightly on the back foot, but we will certainly be giving it our all, as we do every weekend.”
In the GTA class, Martin Johnston secured a brace of top five finishes to bolster his position on the points table with a notable improvement on lap times compared to the GT Cup’s previous visit to Brands Hatch in May.
The AllFloors Express Managing Director has been consistently improving with each meeting and is becoming entangled in many fraught mid-field battles, all of which are furthering his race craft behind the wheel of the team’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4.
“It will be the second time we’ve raced at Donington Park this year, all be it on the Grand Prix loop, but the aim is to improve on what we achieved last time,” said Johnston. “We have been improving with every meeting and it is great to be second in the GTA standings, so we are aiming to keep the points alive this weekend. Tom (Ferrier) and the team scored a brilliant one-two at Donington Park last weekend in the British GT, so it would be good if we can score some more podiums this week and continue that run.”
Returning to the series for the first time since their outing at the season opener, Houghton and Glew have swapped their Ferrari 458 Italia for one of the team’s Avon Tyres British GT Championship winning Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3s.
Making an immediate impact on the series by finishing third in class after a tight battle with another Ferrari of John Seale and Jamie Stanley, Houghton and Glew are under no illusion that, with an ever growing number of high-calibre drivers, strong points finishes will be a hard thing to come by, but are excited by the challenge.
Qualifying for the GT Cup’s penultimate meeting at Donington Park is scheduled to get underway at 12.40 on Saturday (19 September), with the 50-minute driver change race taking place later that day 15.40. Sunday’s (20 September) will see both sprint races taking place at 14.35 and 17.05 respectively.