Milton Keynes racing driver, Andrew Jarman signed off on a superb debut Avon British GT Championship season with his seventh podium from ten races to finish runner-up in the GT4 Class at a thrilling Donington Park finale (13-14 September)
After missing out on their third win of 2014 at the previous round (Brands Hatch), Jarman and his TF Sport team mate Devon Modell needed victory at the season finale and rivals Beechdean Motorsport to finish eighth to take the title.
The weekend started well as Jarman/Modell placed their Aston Martin V8 Vantage third on the grid during qualifying on Saturday afternoon for Sunday’s two hour race for championship victory.
In front of guest sponsors TXM Recruit, TXM Plant and Danbro, Jarman headed out first to take his grid position behind front row starters Gavin Kershaw / Osman Yusuf in the Lotus Evora with rivals Beechdean Motorsport alongside.
As the lights went green, Jarman was soon setting the GT4 class pace and by lap four the #49 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage had closed onto the back of the leaders heading up the hill towards McLeans. Braking for the corner, the #407 Beechdeam Motorsport went down the inside of the #77 Lotus Evora and as they approached the blind Copice corner, Jarman darted around the outside of both cars, managing to hold it around the white line to take the lead.
The next twenty minutes of racing saw a three way fight for the lead, with the #42 Ginetta G55 pairing of Parfitt/Oliphant running closely behind championship rivals Beechdean Motorsport as the gap to Jarman remained around 1 second. Under increasing pressure, Jarman put in a defensive performance to position his car perfectly and maintain the lead.
As the pit window opened, Jarman was unfortunate to lose his hard fought lead, after contact with #42 Ginetta at the Melbourne Hairpin forced Jarman wide and dropped him to third as he handed over to team mate Modell.
After serving their mandatory pit lane time penalty for finishing second at Brands Hatch (Previous Round), Modell joined the race second in class behind the Ginetta G55 of Morten Dons and crucially, ahead of title rival pairing Jake Giddings and Ross Wylie in the Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin GT4.
Modell soon regained the lead but once again the TF Sport team found themselves battling with the #42 Ginetta of Oliphant/Parfitt, followed closely by Giddings/Wylie in the Aston Martin GT4. As the race entered the final stage, Jarman/Modell had done all they could to take the championship fight to their rivals who had now dropped to a comfortable fifth position in order to secure their championship position.
With 5 minutes to go, Modell was under immense pressure from a fast charging #42 Ginetta of Oliphant/Parfitt and with their title rivals in a safe position, the championship was effectively out of reach. In the closing laps of the race, an unfortunate error at Copice by Modell gifted the lead to the #42 Ginetta of Parfitt/Oliphant who were less than a second behind and as the chequered flag appeared, the TF Sport pairing took their seventh podium finish of 2014 to end a superb debut British GT season.
Speaking after the race, Jarman said:
“We took the fight right up to the last few laps and have to be proud of our performance this season; I got a good start and knew we had to get to the front to be in with a shot. The move around the outside of Copice to take the lead will be one to remember and from there I just focused on defending our position.
There was some contact with Rick at the Melbourne Hairpin but nothing major and that lost us the lead before the pit stop which was frustrating, but Devon did a great job to retake the lead and unfortunate to miss out on the win in the last few laps, but that’s racing!
I have to say a massive thank you to the TF Sport team, they’ve been faultless all year and the only team in with a shout of the GT4 title at the final race which is a great result in their debut season. And of course my sponsors TXM Recruit, TXM Plant, Danbro, Exhibition Coffee, Ignition Collective and Go Global for all their support. Roll on 2015!”
TF Sport Team Principal, Tom Ferrier, said:
“I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has been involved this year, from the sponsors to the drivers, to all of the team. It was close, but not close enough to win, but we had a great year and to get seven podiums and be second in the championship is fantastic. Bring on next year!”