10 July 2016

TF Sport returned to winning ways in Round 6 of the 2016 Pirelli British GT Championship at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, except this time it was Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes who took the spoils in Belgium’s Ardennes Forest (8-9 July).

Farmer and Barnes have been lurking as a distant threat for the podium since the very beginning of the season and stringing together an error-free weekend ultimately made the difference, allowing them to score a fine first victory together.

The TF Sport teammates finally showed their true pace for the first time this season when they set the third fastest combined time in a closely-fought qualifying on Friday (8 July). The pair lined up to start Saturday’s (9 July) race as the lead Aston Martin, whilst five different manufacturers qualified in the top five positions.

Spa is known as a circuit that rewards the brave and this was evidenced when former motorcycle racer Farmer snatched the initiative as the field converged on the La Source hairpin on the opening lap.

Farmer immediately got his head down and pulled away from the chasing pack. As his stint progressed, he worked the traffic well to extend his advantage and comfortably lead the race by more than 6 seconds. Annoyingly, after encountering heavy traffic and a yellow flag zone, he was caught and fell to third position just prior to the compulsory driver-changes.

After taking over the #11 Aston, Barnes made hay during the opening laps of his stint and after overtaking the Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini ofRolf Ineichen the lead was soon back in his hands.

During the final hour of the race, the resurgent Bentley of Seb Morris was a prominent threat for the win, but Barnes deployed all of his speed and guile in a smart and calculated drive, managing lapped traffic perfectly to keep the young Welshman at arm’s length and achieve his first victory in eight years!

“Last year was my first season back in British GT since 2008 and I have to thank Mark (Farmer) for allowing me to drive with him as well as working as his driver coach,” said Barnes. “It is fantastic to return to the top step for the first time in eight years. I knew we could do it. All we needed was a clean weekend with no mistakes - now we have finally proven what we can achieve when we do that.

“Mark read the start really well, keeping an eye on his mirrors and spotting what was unfolding in front of him, and he drove a very sensible and fast stint. Taking the lead early was instrumental in the outcome of the race and it was then about making his way through the traffic as efficiently as possible. In my stint it was particularly important to take every opportunity in the traffic to keep the Bentley off my tail. Once I had the lead for about 15 minutes, I was able to find a goodrhythm and then I was confident that I could keep it until the chequered flag fell."

Farmer added: “Winning today at Spa is very rewarding. We have always had the pace and just needed to string everything together, but to achieve a victory is just epic! I was presented with an opportunity when the leading cars came together at Turn 1 and I made the most of that, then I managed the gap, which was ultimately decimated by a yellow flag and traffic. The whole race was about traffic management and I think we excelled at that.”

TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier, said: “It’s brilliant that Mark (Farmer) and Jon (Barnes) have come away with a win. I thought they had a podium within them this weekend, but they drove exceptionally well – Mark really hasn’t done much leading at this level before and to control the race as well as he did is remarkable. Jon did an incredible job to keep Seb Morris behind when the Bentley had been so much quicker. I couldn’t praise them highly enough.

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Jon Barnes Racing 2023