Mans Endurance Series – Istanbul – November 13
Last Time Out For The TVRs
been an extraordinary season for Team LNT and it’s wonderfully-liveried
TVRs. Seven months ago and the European season began with that 1-2
at the Spa 1000 Kms, since when it’s been a year of (largely)
There has been
real pace apparent every time out, but getting to the finish has
been the problem. That pattern, unfortunately, continued at Istanbul,
although during the first two days of the meeting, the signs were
very promising indeed that the last outing for the T400Rs would
see them end their international careers with some (more) real success.
newcomer on the driving squad was Tom Kimber-Smith (right), introduced
to the team by Richard Dean, TK-S having shown fabulous form in
Team JLR-run Formula Fords. Tom joined Marc Hynes and Pat Pearce
in the #82 car, with Jonny Kane, Lawrence Tomlinson and Warren Hughes
in the #81.
“Wet and cool,” just how we like it,
said the team owner on Saturday morning, as the second day of the
meeting began. Friday had been dry and cool, but horribly overcast,
which seemed to set the pattern for the balance of the three days.
Saturday did dry out in time for more free practice and then qualifying,
but raceday would be back to wet and cool – but rather wetter
than Saturday morning had been.
On Friday, the TVRs had been fourth and fifth fastest,
with just one Porsche (Autorlando’s) and two Ferraris (those
of GPC and Scuderia Ecosse) ahead of them. Jonny Kane set the best
time in #81, with new boy Tom Kimber-Smith fastest in #82 –
their times split by the boss in #81. One of the strengths of the
TVR squads this weekend would again be the competitiveness of all
So far, there
had been no sign of any engine troubles at all – none.
times, on the wet / damp track were ten seconds or so slower than
on Friday, and the TVRs were still highly competitive – on
intermediate tyres. “The wets were rooted after a couple of
laps,” explained Pat Pearce.
Joining the two Ferraris and the Autorlando Porsche
among the competitive GT2 entries was the Spyker, and qualifying
and the race looked to be between these four and the two LNT TVRs.
late on Saturday afternoon was just about dry but still horribly
overcast – and Jonny Kane and TK-S had the qualifying duties.
Now we could see the real LNT form, with Kane third from the outset,
behind the two Ferraris, and consolidating that position with his
second flying lap, a 1:56.922. Kimber-Smith was in the very low
1:58s at this point, but he had more to come: he found almost a
second with his 1:57.109, and that was the TVRs third and fifth
on the grid, split by the Autorlando Porsche with a 1:57 dead.
Very satisfying – all the Porsches bar one
behind the TVRs, and the Spyker was in trouble with a severe oil
leak. The engines were still performing perfectly: two days down,
one (raceday) to go.
If you were a TVR driver, the positive aspect to
race morning was that it was raining again – a solid drizzle.
The TVRs were third and fifth, again, in the warm-up, Lawrence Tomlinson
setting the time in the third-placed #81. But Marc Hynes came back
to the pits clutching an engine component – and without his
Marc had heard something from the top end, and the
next thing he knew, a connecting rod had ventilated the block.
will be our last TVR engine change,” explained Rod Farrell,
“but there’s insufficient time to do it before the start,
so we’ll just get her out as soon as we can.”
That would have to be before one hour of the race
had elapsed (ACO / LMES rules), but circumstances would conspire
against Pat Pearce making it out onto the track before the first
hour had elapsed.
Jonny Kane started
#81, and he was immediately involved in a furious GT2 scrap. He’d
split the Ferraris by lap 2.....
... then dropped
to fourth, fought back up to third, fourth again, then third when
the Autorlando Porsche spun after 19 laps.
the throttle was sticking, and Jonny had to pit for a replacement.
The timing was such that he pitted as Pat Pearce was helmeted up,
almost ready to go in #82, with its replacement engine.
The crew working
on #82 had to switch to fixing #81, and that was it as far as a
race went for Pat Pearce, Marc Hynes and Tom Kimber-Smith.
With the repair
to #81 having taken half an hour, Rod Farrell (above) reported that
“we’ll be done in another ten minutes.”
He was true to his word, but when Lawrence Tomlinson
ventured out, “it stuck again, three times. Once was at the
end of the pit straight, and I went straight on. It was too dangerous
to continue, so we had to retire the car.
“We’ll just have to remember Spa, back
The team made up for their disappointment with some
fun and games at the ed of season party in Istanbul on Sunday night,
but thoughts were already turning to next season.
be out testing with the Panoz Esperantes at Silverstone on November
21, then at Donington, then we’re off some warm weather testing
at Barcelona and Nogaro.”
The Team LNT Panoz Esperantes will make their race
debut next March, at the 12 Hours of Sebring.