Redhill, England-based TF Sport took the chequered flag at Circuito do Estoril to win the sixth and final round of the inaugural Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup and win the Teams Standings. Euan Hankey took the #34 TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 across the line after a champions first-stint drive from Salih Yoluc.
In a race where heavy rain threatened but never materialised, TF Sport led from early in the two-hour race and rarely looked threatened. The championship adds to TF Sport’s 2016 British GT title and concludes a highly successful year for the British team.
The race was marked by a titanic battle between the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 piloted by Victor Shaitar and Aleksey Basov and the #88 Mentos Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R piloted by Egidio Perfetti and Klaus Bachler. After contact during the first hour between the second and third placed teams in the Teams Standings, Bachler was on a charge in the second half of the race when, sitting in third, he pressured Victor Shaitar for second place. Ultimately SMP Racing retained second place and, with it, the Drivers Standings title.
TF Sport’s Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup win means that the team earns an LMGTE Am invitation to the 2017 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to the invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team wins a prize of 100,000 euros.
Yet again, the new-for-2016 GT3 Le Mans Cup provided excellent, close-fought racing and acted as a superb advert for ACO-sanctioned GT3 racing in Europe. It will be interesting to see the size of the grid for the 2017 championship.