A pair of TF Sport Aston Martins will take to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in the final round of the 2016 International GT Open (29-30 October), as championship regulars Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey will be joined at the Spanish venue by British GT race winners Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes.
Fresh from winning the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup and earning an invitation to the 2017 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (Saturday 22 October), TF Sport moves on to Spain for the grand finale of the International GT Open.
Hankey and Yoluc have had fluctuating fortunes in 2016, but the penultimate round of the super-competitive GT Open at Autodromo Nazionale Monza yielded a second series victory for the Anglo-Turkish pairing and there’s hope of a repeat at Catalunya.
TF Sport is keen to make good use of this momentum, so it will double-up its efforts by entering a second Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 for Farmer and Barnes, who most notably raced to the top step of the podium in the British GT Championship’s annual ‘flyaway’ at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
This one-off outing is designed to keep the Brits fresh during the long interval between the end of the British GT season and the start of TF Sport’s winter testing programme, but the teammates insist they aren’t there to simply make up the numbers or play a supporting role to Yoluc and Hankey.
Farmer said: “This is purely about keeping our hand in at the end of the season, given that there’s a long time until the start of the 2017 campaign. Jon (Barnes) and I are doing a lot of extra-curricular activities behind the scenes in preparation for next year and this outing in the International GT Open will be useful. With very different restrictions the Aston Martin will feel quite different and, although I learnt a lot about the track during a low-key test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, I’m not really sure how we will fare.”
TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier, said: “I’m delighted to be welcoming Mark (Farmer) and Jon (Barnes) to TF Sport’s International GT Open programme. This is a very positive thing for the team and the race at Catalunya is timely for the drivers too, as it will keep them fresh and in the zone over the long winter period, as British GT finishes so early in the year.
“This race meeting brings our season to a close, and as you would expect, I hope we can capitalise on the momentum we’ve gathered from winning the previous round of the GT Open at Monza and sealing the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup title with Salih (Yoluc) and Euan (Hankey) at Estoril. There are a lot of good feelings within the team and I’d like to carry those through into the off-season with a strong finish at Catalunya.”