TF Sport: weighing up the possibilities at Oulton Park
TF Sport remains undefeated and sits proudly atop the 2016 Pirelli British GT Championship standings after two rounds, but the team is managing expectations ahead of its Bank Holiday outing at Oulton Park (28-30 May).
The official Aston Martin Racing Partner Team has achieved three British GT wins on the bounce since last year’s season finale at Donington Park, with potent pairing Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston well and truly stamping their authority in 2016 by taking their MSW-liveried V12 Vantage GT3 to victory at Brands Hatch and Rockingham.
Another win in race one at Oulton Park would be momentous for many reasons; it would be a record-equalling 11th British GT3 victory for Adam, but the Scot and Johnston would also be the first pairing to win three successive British GT races outright since 2010 and the first to win the opening three races of the year in a decade.
However, several obstacles will stand between TF Sport and the top step of the podium in the lush green Cheshire countryside.
Firstly, the team will serve a ten-second success penalty during its race one pit stop, and a questionable shift in the British GT Championship’s Balance of Performance means the Aston Martin contingent will be as much as 65kgs heavier than its Lamborghini counterparts.
With the typical two-hour race format replaced by a pair of 60-minute contests, TF Sport has a mountain to climb and its hopes of victory, or even a podium, are slim at best.
The same can be said of the sister V12 Vantage of Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer, which will also be heavily laden with ballast, although a clean, problem-free weekend and solid finishes inside the top six would be gladly received by the teammates, who have yet to unlock their true potential.
TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier, said: “I have always said that consistent finishes in the top five is the aim and we must make the best of what is guaranteed to be a very tough weekend at Oulton Park. The ten-second success penalty will be hard to recover from in such a short race, especially as the circuit is very narrow and presents very few overtaking opportunities. We need to do a good job in qualifying to ensure we’re near the front, as anything can happen from there.
“However, a questionable change in the championship’s Balance of Performance will make it doubly difficult, as we will have another 25kgs over and above what we carried at Rockingham and that means we will be a full 65kgs heavier than Lamborghini, for example. Jonny (Adam) and Derek (Johnston) need two solid results, while Jon (Barnes) and Mark (Farmer) need a platform to start from and a clean weekend would provide that.”