The title-winning TF Sport squad will retain its Champion driver line-up in a bid to defend its British GT Championship crowns in 2017.
Incumbent Champions Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam extend their winning partnership and both feel that this consistency will only make them a more formidable force when their title defence commences at Oulton Park in April 2017.
Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes also remain with TF Sport for another season and their aim is to deploy the late-season form that took them to the top step of the podium at Spa from the very beginning of next year’s British GT campaign, to also challenge for top honours in the championship.
TF Sport, founded in 2014, has been patient and methodical during its first three years and this approach has reaped great rewards.
In 2016, the team has set the bar as a regular race victor and podium finisher both in the UK and abroad. It sealed the British GT Teams’ and Drivers’ titles before cementing its Champion status by winning the inaugural Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup at Circuito do Estoril in Portugal on Saturday (22 October), in turn earning a coveted invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
As an official Aston Martin Racing Partner Team, TF Sport will once again field a pair of venerable V12 Vantage GT3s for its British GT quartet, who are already being touted as favourites for the 2017 crowns.
This winter’s testing programme will be centred around optimising setups and trialling a host of new ideas, conceived by TF Sport’s engineers, Pro driver Barnes and Aston Martin Racing factory driver Adam to extract yet more speed from the team’s Aston Martins.
However, it will also be about squeezing more speed out of Am racers Farmer and Johnston, who previously used pre-season testing to gel with their Pro teammates and synchronise their approaches, to great avail.
“It has been a mega year for TF Sport and I’m already looking forward to spending 2017 with the team and Derek (Johnston),” said Adam. “Consistency is always positive and this should help Derek up his game again, but everybody is trying hard to improve and winter testing will be important for looking at the minor details to find those last few tenths of a second.”
Adam added: “I’ve been in British GT since 2011 and Aston Martin Racing has placed me with several teams in several championships, but I particularly enjoy working with TF Sport. Having raced at a high level himself, Tom Ferrier understands what’s needed. I really like the attention to detail, he has good staff, the cars are always beautifully turned out and it was clear that winning the championship meant a hell of a lot to everybody involved.
“Doing the double with two different teams was great, but winning a third consecutive title and doing it with TF Sport would be very special and I’m hungry to make it happen. TF Sport is a young team and it has come a long way in only a few years, also winning in Europe, which is great from Aston Martin’s perspective. However, we need to move forward from the last round of 2016 and we have a great test structure in place.”
Johnston said: “We learnt an awful lot as a team and as individual drivers in 2016. Tom Ferrier’s understanding improved massively and everything came together nicely to ensure we could win the title. I want to be up there again next year and I don’t see any reason why we can’t be. We will be among the favourites for the 2017 titles, but a lot depends on how the Balance of Performance shakes out. I definitely feel confident in my own ability and I now know how to race in British GT.”
Barnes said: “Mark (Farmer) and I got some really good results at the end of this season and the priority will be to continue that from the start of 2017. We ended up in an unexpected position, on the cusp of the championship fight going into the Donington decider and that was mainly due to the improvement Mark made in the latter half of the year. If we continue refining our qualifying techniques and find more consistency for the races we should be in contention for the title come the end of the year, and we have a big winter programme of testing, sim work and karting to get our act together.”
Farmer said: “We feel pretty good about 2017 and that’s primarily due to the way we performed at the end of this season. Ultimately, it was all about eradicating mistakes and we’ll be going into the new season feeling very positive and excited. We’ll be in a position where the pressure isn’t really on us. We obviously hope to be in the mix and we’re confident we can be, but I’m not thinking about results. I need to focus on preparation and I’ll take it one corner at a time. The results should come.”
TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier, said: “It has been something of a watershed year for TF Sport, as we’ve won races and championship titles on both the British and European stages and I believe consistency will be key to carrying the team’s form over into 2017. This season’s successes prove we have a winning structure and everything we need to defend our British GT Championship crowns, with two quick driver pairings and the support of Aston Martin Racing. We just need to optimise our package in winter testing to ensure we hit the ground running again at Oulton Park in April.”