After promising results on their Avon Tyres British GT Championship debuts TF Sport’s two teams are hoping for more of the same this weekend at Rockingham.
It was GT4 contenders Andrew Jarman and Devon Modell who had the best of TF Sport’s Oulton Park Easter weekend. The duo finished third in the first race, before taking a maiden series victory in the second of the two 60-minute races at the Cheshire track.
“Oulton Park was a really good start to the season, but I’m expecting a slightly tougher weekend with the Aston Martin at Rockingham,” said Jarman. “The Aston Martin goes better on longer, sweeping tracks, while the tight, twisty venues like Rockingham plays to the strengths of shorter-wheelbase cars. It’s still a bit of an unknown, because there have been changes to the balance of performance, but I think scoring solid points is the objective and any more than that would be a bonus.”
This weekend’s festivities on the International Long layout at the Northamptonshire track bring increases risk and reward to the series with a single two hour race on the schedule, but with 1.5 times the points on offer compared to the hour events.
The longer race plays to the previous experience of Andy Schulz and Paul Bailey, who will share the TF Sport run Aston Martin Vantage GT3. The pair dominated the British Endurance Championship race at the track last season, but are acutely aware of the different challenge facing them this weekend.
“Being only the second race of the season, it will once again be a steep learning curve for both Andy and myself,” said Bailey. “As it’s the first endurance race of the season, I am unsure what to expect from the life of the tyres. Rockingham in the dry is very abrasive on the tyres so, come the end of the race, the car could be sliding around a lot.”
“We’ve got to set ourselves realistic goals, and if we were to finish within the top ten, we would celebrate as if we had won the title because it will be a huge achievement in our debut season.”
Bailey and Schulz came close to claiming one such valuable top ten at Oulton Park, on course for a sixth place finish before a slow puncture pushed them down the order.
“We have a lot of positives to take away from the last meeting, such as our race pace,” said Schulz. “Although the results don’t show it, we were on for some great results before the unexpected slow puncture. We go to Rockingham with a view on what to expect and should be able to push further up the grid.”
GT4 man Modell also has idea of what to expect; “I’d like to replicate the success we had at the last outing in the British GT. The car doesn’t suit the track as much as it did at Oulton Park, but as it is one long endurance race and not a sprint, it’s all about managing the tyres and not always pushing to your absolute limit. If you get your strategy correct, it will benefit you come the end of the race when you’ll be able to pick off your rivals.”
www.theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will have full coverage of the British GT weekend from Rockingham, including live blog coverage of the race, scheduled for 1:55pm on Bank Holiday Monday.