TF Sport to get the ball rolling in GT3 Le Mans Cup at Imola and GT Open at Spa
TF Sport’s three-pronged 2016 campaign takes it back to Europe and on to a pair of classic racetracks, the first port of call being Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Imola in Italy and the second Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
The newly-established Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup kicks off in support of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) at Italy’s historic and evocative Imola circuit this weekend (13-14 May), and TF Sport will field a sole Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 for Turkish gentleman racer Salih Yoluc and his pro teammate Euan Hankey.
It was confirmed in February that TF Sport would be expanding its presence in British and European GT racing and that the Michelin-supported GT3 Le Mans Cup would be at the fore of the team’s programme.
A brand new concept derived by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), the championship is reserved for GT3-spec cars and centred around bronze category ‘gentleman’ drivers and boasts a prestigious slot on the support bill for the 24 Hours of Le Mans (18-19 June), with a typical race weekend consisting of two one-hour free practice sessions, one 30-minute qualifying session and a single two-hour race.
While small in numbers, the grid is big on diversity and quality. No fewer than six marques – Aston Martin, Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Porsche – and 12 nationalities will be represented in the 11-car field, and TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier, said: “We had a really good two-day test at Imola last week. It's the best I have seen Salih (Yoluc) drive so I'm really upbeat. The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup grid is not the size we want it to be, but it's full of quality. It will be nice to get the first one out of the way and set a benchmark. A solid result is all we require.”
From Imola, TF Sport goes north to Belgium’s Ardennes Forest and the beloved Spa circuit for Round 2 of the International GT Open (21-22 May).
A solid result is all the Aston Martin Racing Partner Team wants from its Spa weekend following a stalled start to its GT Open campaign in Portugal, and Ferrier said: “For Round 2 of the International GT Open at Spa, it’s much of the same. The season-opener in Estoril was just a case of what could have been; we had really good pace and could have come away with a podium. Let's see what weather Spa delivers and what pace we have, but, again, a solid result is what’s needed to get the ball rolling."