The conclusion of the Asian Le Mans Series saw Red River Sport by TF Sport record a hard-fought fourth position on day where mechanical penalties made it all but impossible to secure a more satisfying result. The Malaysian round at the Sepang Circuit was however notable for marking the successful conclusion of the Red River Sport programme, while the glorious Aston Martin Vantage GT3 V12 bowed out and took the chequered flag for the final time.
Johnny Mowlem teamed up with Ivor Dunbar for the final round of the championship, with Bonamy Grimes unable to take part due to prior business commitments. Johnny leads the Red River Sport programme and the aim of competing in the Asian Le Mans Series has always been about giving his two Gentlemen drivers exposure and experience on the International stage. It’s very much mission accomplished on that front with the two Amateur racers getting plenty of valuable racing laps completed at such a high level.
The Sepang weekend brought a fourth-place finish to wrap up the season, one that saw the team claim a debut podium position in the GT class in Shanghai before finishing fifth at Fuji Speedway. The Malaysian round was severely compromised however by an engine issue that saw TF Sport forced to make the change ahead of the four-hour endurance race.
As a result, the race got underway with Johnny making a great start from fifth position to run second only to them be called to the pits to serve his mandatory two-minute stop-go penalty as a result of the engine change. From that point, it was a case of circulating, steering clear of trouble and ensuring that the #5 GT3 finished the race. Ivor took over in the closing stages and had the honour of taking the chequered flag, the final race for the V12 Vantage and perhaps a V12-powered car in GT3 history.
“It’s been a great experience for is in the Asian Le Mans Series,” stated TF Sport Director Tom Ferrier. “Today didn’t go our way at all though it must be said. It’s possible to claw back time from a drive through penalty for example, but a two-minute stop-go for the engine change is something impossible to recover from. These things happen, it’s just a shame that it happed this weekend for Ivor and Johnny.
“Both Ivor and Bonamy have learned a lot from the Red River Sport programme, so it has been a successful campaign in that sense and all credit to them and Johnny for giving their absolute all. It would have been fantastic to have bookended the season with another podium position and send the V12 off into retirement in style, but we have to be content with P4 on this occasion.
“Big thanks to Aston Martin Racing for building such an incredible car – one that has won us six championships. We have little time to rest, it’s going to be a very busy season ahead!”
TF Sport have an intense test programme ahead with the new Vantage GT3 and GT4 and compete next with the GTE in the FIA World Endurance Championship next month at Sebring, Florida.