Red River Sport by TF Sport secures Asian Le Mans Series debut podium
It proved to be an impressive debut for Red River Sport by TF Sport in the Asian Le Mans Series Sunday (25 November) in Shanghai, claiming a solid podium position and further underlying the British-based team’s pedigree on the international stage.
Johnny Mowlem and Bonamy Grimes teamed up for this event and the partnership worked well between the Pro and Am driver, with Johnny coaching and advising Bonamy throughout the four days of running. This ultimately culminated in a third-place finish, having led the class outright for significant portions of the four-hour race.
The team took part in the unofficial practice session on Thursday, making changes to the #5 Aston Martin Vantage heading into the first practice session on Friday. The setup work continued after recording the fifth fastest time, with the team trying to get a better balance on the car and to iron out the car’s characteristic understeer.
The duo were again fifth fastest in final practice before Bonamy was given the opportunity to qualify the car on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Am racer, his best lap was disallowed, despite losing time running wide at the exit of the final turn, and the team had to be content with P5 in the GT class for the early Sunday morning start.
Race day saw Red River Sport by TF Sport adjust its planned run programme, a strategy that paid dividends as the race unfolded. Bonamy took the first stint, making a great start and utilising the grip that the fresh Michelins provided, to run third immediately behind the #88 and #11 entries. Soon after this became second place before pitting under the safety car after 15 laps.
Johnny was right up to speed immediately, maintaining and then extending his advantage over the #11 behind. The leader meanwhile had a problem in the pits and this elevated Johnny to the head of the GT class by lap 30 with a handy margin over the #66 Mercedes.
Bonamy was next in, and as the stops shook out, ran second behind the eventual race winners in the #11 Ferrari. It was another strong performance from the rookie as he maintained his position prior to the stop, before handing over to Johnny.
The #51 Spirit of Race made ground in that final stop to move second, with Johnny pushing hard close behind. Third position on the team’s debut was the reward with the combination of driver pace, strategy and flawless teamwork.
TF Sport now prepares for the next challenge, coming up very shortly at the second round of the Asian Le Mans Series at Fuji in two weeks’ time.