With a hard fought second place in class at the 24 Hours of Spa last month, the Oman Racing Team with TF Sport badged Aston Martin privateer outfit claimed the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Pro-Am championship with one round remaining in the 2017 season.
Finishing one lap behind class winners – the #16 Mercedes AMG Team Black Falcon – the #97 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 at the hands of regulars Ahmad Al Harthy and 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro victor Jonny Adam; alongside ELMS stars Euan Hankey and Salih Yoluc completed 539 laps. The result means TF Sport now hold an unassailable 45 point lead going into the final round at Barcelona in October.
The gruelling race saw Tom Ferrier’s team claim their third podium in as many races the Endurance Cup season, their title the result of unwavering consistency.
Speaking in the wake of the success, Ferrier hailed his side’s “perfect strategy”, choosing to hold track position at the points-awarding intervals.
“Perhaps we could have won the race if we had pitted when the safety cars came out, but more importantly we wanted to maximise the points in the race and it worked perfectly.”
The weekend started in the most perfect way possible, Adam securing class pole position with the sixth fastest time overall – a sensational 15 places ahead of the next best Pro-Am entry. However, clutch problems robbed the Brit of his designated track time in the Super Pole shoot-out, demoting him to seventh place.
Taking the reins for the first two stints, Adam continued his fine Qualifying form, ensuring that TF Sport held the class lead at the climax of the second hour – an hour ended by a huge accident for Pasin Lathouras in the #50 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3.
It was a position that the #97 entry held for the majority of the next four hours under the control of Somerset-born Hankey, the 30-year old returning to Spa after a year’s absence from the event.
As a number of Safety Car neutralised periods passed, TF Sport opted for the conservative route, choosing points over pace at crucial stages in the race, allowing the Black Falcon Mercedes to ease to class victory. Second place was enough for the title, with nearest rivals Barwell Motorsports failing to finish either of their two Lamborghini Huracan GT3 entries.
Reflecting after the race, Adam cited “a memorable weekend”, but it wasn’t without its difficulties.
“One of the toughest I’ve raced in. If it wasn’t for an unlucky safety car situation, we could have fought for the win.”
“But it’s a special feeling.” he added.