15 June 2015

The 22GT team travelled to central France this weekend, where their regular British GT drivers, Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer were competing in the Aston Martin Racing Festival, with a 40 strong grid of cars racing around the full La Sarthe circuit as a support race to the 2015 Le Mans 24 hours. 
Despite dominating every track session over the weekend, Barnes and Farmer were left confused and disappointed by the result of Sunday’s 45 minute race...

With Jon and Mark’s regular British GT Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 still being repaired from the accident at Silverstone two weeks prior, the drivers were delighted to have secured a replacement car from fellow British GT team, TF Sport. The replacement car was almost identical to the drivers' usual British GT Aston, although the new car would be running in ‘Super GT’ spec - so had smaller engine air restrictors as well as being lighter due to running without lead ballast.

Also joining the 22GT Racing team for the prestigious festival race was team owner Tom Alexander, with JOTA Sport boss David Clarke in the former’s Aston Martin DBRS9, and Father and Son pairing Chris and Mika Brown in their Aston Martin Vantage V8 GT4.

Jon and Mark got their first run on the La Sarthe circuit in first practice, which was held at 8.30pm on Wednesday evening. WIth the conditions warm and sunny, Jon got two flying laps on the circuit, setting a 4:07.1 on his first lap and a 4:01.1 on his second lap, to comfortably lead the session and out pace his rivals by almost 6 seconds. Once Jon came into the pits to hand the car over, team mate Mark got out on track but had a spin towards the end of his first lap and stalled the car. WIth the car running a much smaller and lighter battery, there was not enough power to turn the engine over and restart - so Mark had to sit out the rest of the session.

Next up was the qualifying session, held on Thursday afternoon at 5.30pm. Jon again took the car out first, and on his one and only flying lap he was able to break the 4 minute barrier, with a 3:59.934.
Jon pitted in and handed the car over to Farmer, however once Mark was out on track, the 22GT Team were informed that Barnes’s lap time had been disallowed due to an alleged overtake under yellow flags on his lap back to the pits!

Despite the setback, Farmer was able to set a laptime good enough to place the pair in 6th overall for the race on Sunday morning.

Jon and the team spent 24 hours discussing the alleged yellow flag overtake during qualifying with the race stewards and clerk of the course and with the assistance of the onboard camera footage, the team were satisfied to get the decision overturned - allowing Barnes to take up his rightful position at the front of the grid for the 45 minute race on Sunday.

Race report:

Jon said, “This weekend, I think I have been through every emotion that a racing driver would normally experience during a whole careert! This weekend has been a strange mix of pleasure, pain, elation, disappointment, frustration and anger too!"

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Jon Barnes Racing 2023