17 December 2015

Mark Farmer and former title winner Jon Barnes will contest the 2016 British GT Championship with TF Sport as part of the Aston Martin Racing partner team’s re-jigged driver line-up.

The duo switch across from 22GT Racing with whom they scored a best result of third earlier this season aboard a similar V12 Vantage GT3 to the one they’ll now campaign on behalf of Tom Ferrier’s outfit.

The Redhill-based squad proved the team to beat over the second half of this year after making a breakthrough with its pair of Astons before Brands Hatch. Three podiums and a pole position meant the subsequent one-two finish came as no surprise at Donington’s season finale.

Barnes tasted success in Caterhams and Formula Palmer Audi before winning British GT’s overall title in 2008. And, after a 2015 season largely spent re-learning the ropes alongside long-time co-driver Farmer, the 32-year-old is looking forward to making further progress.

“Although myself and Mark had a few opportunities to show our pace in 2015, notably leading the Silverstone 500 by a huge margin until the final 30 minutes and then finishing on the podium at Snetterton, we took a look at our performances across the season and knew that we could improve with some help in the right areas,” he said. “Tom Ferrier invited us to test and as TF Sport had been the most competitive Aston Martin team in British GT towards the end of the season, we jumped at the chance.

“Tom’s operation was very impressive, as was the car balance compared to what we had previously experienced, so we instantly felt comfortable and got down to some impressive times. As a result, the decision to switch came fairly easily after that! We both hope that, having had a steep learning year in 2015, we will start 2016 with TF Sport in much better shape. Plus, confirming our plans for 2016 this early is a big help, as it gives us lots of preparation time.”

Farmer echoed his co-driver’s sentiments by suggesting recent tests had given him renewed confidence following a character building maiden British GT season.

“I have just completed my first season in British GT and it was a big learning year for both me and Jon, who has been coaching me for some time now,” he said. “Jon is super talented and we work really well together, but I think we completely underestimated how big and competitive the British GT Championship is and we discovered we were in the dark in a lot of areas when we smashed our lap times after only a few laps in testing with TF Sport.

“While we drove an Aston Martin in 2015, TF Sport’s car was far more compliant and stronger, which inspired a lot of confidence that we have the pace as a driver pairing. It’s a question of being with the right team and having the right equipment. It’s clear that TF Sport has a lot of experience and expertise; it’s well-drilled and everybody knows their subject really well and they’ve turned out a fantastic car as a result.”

The pair’s confirmation came as part of TF Sport’s announcement that reigning British GT3 champion Jonny Adam will partner Derek Johnston in its sister V12 Vantage, an element Farmer believes will also help his side of the garage.

“To cap it all, we’ll have Derek and Jonny as team-mates. To get better at any sport you have to play people who are better than you, so I feel they will drag us up,” he added.

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Jon Barnes Racing 2023