Newly-crowned GT4 Champion Tom Canning said he can’t believe he and Ash Hand won the title after coming away from the opening round of the 2019 British GT Championship season with no points.
A tricky opener at Oulton Park for the TF Sport racers left them sitting at the bottom of the drivers’ championship standings but quickly became the form team in the mammoth GT4 as the Aston Martin Vantage V8 GT4 pair swept to a win and four podiums in the final six races to claim the title by 7.5 points.
Despite that success – and triumphing in a six-way battle for the title at Donington Park – Canning said he still can’t comprehend what’s happened.
“I think after Oulton having scored zero points, to be where we are now, I can’t believe it. I don’t think any of us saw us coming back to here and the car – we’ve had a faultless season car-wise – that’s just helped us so much,” he explained.
“For Aston Martin’s debut season with the new car, they’ve come and we’ve won the overall, Beechdean has won the Pro/Am championship and we’ve won the teams’ title.”
The key to the pair’s success at Donington – where they claimed third in class – was a long opening stint for Canning, which had the 17-year-old pitting a lot later than the majority of his competitors. He explained that was to avoid the threat of being caught out by a mid-race safety car: “We had to wait for the HHC McLaren to pit, we were up against them in the championship and if you pit before them then you’re at risk of a safety car coming out and them having a massive advantage out of nowhere so it was just covering off the McLaren and the Multimatic Ford Mustang more than anything but it was really positive.
“I’m happy I had quite a long stint at the start otherwise I would have had to watch more of it! It just adds to it when you do win because the relief that comes with it is extraordinary.”
Canning and Hand’s success capped a remarkable weekend for TF Sport, as the team claimed the GT4 teams’ title and the GT3 honours with Jonny Adam and Graham Davidson. Canning, who made his British GT debut in 2018, believes the environment inside the team was the main factor behind the squad’s successes.
He added: “In my eyes they’re definitely one of, if not the best team on the grid. They’ve been faultless this year, it’s worked quite well the chemistry in the team – everyone has just worked so well together, everyone gets on and it just makes the weekends more enjoyable. I’ve had the most fun season I’ve ever had in my life and to top it off with the title is just perfect.”