History made as ‘emotional’ Jonny Adam retains British GT title

Jonny Adam (right) celebrates winning the 2016 British GT title with team mate Derek Johnston.
Jonny Adam (right) celebrates winning the 2016 British GT title with team mate Derek Johnston.

Aston Martin factory ace Jonny Adam became the first driver to successfully defend the British GT title after a sensational season finale at Donington.

The Kirkcaldy racer and team-mate Derek Johnston overturned an 11.5 point deficit by bringing the TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 home in second place – helping the squad to clinch the team championship too.

The duo gave themselves the best possible shot at the title by securing pole position on Saturday, but with the championship leaders requiring only a top-three finish there was still a big job to do during Sunday’s two-hour race.

Johnston made the perfect start at his home circuit by quickly establishing a lead despite an early safety car period. However, the pressure was eased to a degree when the championship leaders’ car spun out of contention on lap 20 and their race ended in the barriers.

A mandatory success penalty meant the number 17 car dropped to second during the pit-stop and driver change, but with their closest rivals out of the running Adam knew that he only had to finish the race in the top six to seal the title win.

The Fifer delivered a textbook performance, smashing the lap record early in his stint but then maintaining a steady gap between the first and third place cars to claim second place – and with it championship glory.

“There was pressure this week knowing what was at stake,” he said. “We’d done a lot of prepatration, especially in the simulator, and Derek won here last year so he had plenty of confidence.

“We didn’t do much running on the Saturday when it rained as we were banking on it being dry Sunday and we wanted to make as few adjustments as possible and take no risks with the car.

“The race panned out exactly how we wanted it to. Derek made a great start, and after the Lamborghini went off he just got his head down and drove away from the pack to build a nice gap before the change over.

“Once I was in the car it was all about getting back in once piece, just managing the gap and making sure I wasn’t too hard on the brakes or tyres.

“The closer I got to the end the more conscious I was of every bump and rattle, but the Aston Martin is such a proven and reliable car I knew that if I took care of it then it would get us to the finish.

“I couldn’t have been more happy when I crossed the line, it was pretty emotional. To win the championship again would have been a great feeling in itself, but being the first ever to defend it and do it with a different team makes it that much more special.

“It’s been an amazing year overall with TF Sport taking the team title as well, and I’m really pleased for Derek as he’s put so much effort into this campaign it’s great to have been able to help him achieve this.”