If the old racing maxim “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” is true, then Adderly Fong and Bentley Team Absolute are on the right track.
The 26-year-old Hong Kong national has shaken off a sluggish start to the Pirelli World Challenge season and strung together a late summer stretch that includes four podium finishes in the last six races in his No. 88 Bentley Continental GT3.
A win is the only thing missing on his 2016 CV, but after consecutive second-place results in the series’ last outing at Utah Motorsports Campus, and two tracks still to come that Fong believes play to the Bentley’s strengths, that omission may soon be filled.
“I think the next two rounds at Sonoma, this weekend, and Laguna will suit the Bentley Continental GT3 well,” Fong told Sportscar365.
“[Sonoma] has pretty flat curbs, so we’ll be able to use all the track. There’s a bit of undulation. But mostly it’s looking at the layout, it’s more medium-speed to high-speed.
“The Bentley, its strengths are in the downforce, so I think that will work for the car very well.
“Because it’s a bit cooler here compared to the last few rounds at Utah and Mid-Ohio, obviously for a turbocharged car it would benefit.
“The confidence is there. Everyone wants to win. We’re out of the championship fight this year, so we’re all-in for a race victory.”
The recent string of strong finishes for Fong and the Bentley team have vaulted the former Lotus Formula 1 test driver to 8th in the GT points standings with two weekends to go.
More impressive, Fong’s best results of the season have come without the aid of a second team car to push him and help gather data, following the withdrawal of the second Bentley Continental GT3 after Andrew Palmer’s serious accident at Lime Rock in May.
“It did keep us on our back foot,” Fong admitted of being a one-car team. “Mainly it’s the referencing if you have something go wrong on the car which you need to check.
“You don’t know if it’s yourself or if it’s the setup or if it’s the car, or something more fundamental.
“At Mid-Ohio, we had a gearbox problem and with just one car we were short on spares. Luckily we just had enough. It was more difficult but we managed to get through it.”
That will change this weekend, with Fong’s GT Asia teammate Andrew Kim set to jump aboard the No. 78 Bentley for the remaining races on the World Challenge calendar in the GTA class.
Fong said the duo’s experience racing together in Asia will help the team get up to speed quickly.
“We’ve been working for five rounds already this year,” he said. “Last year we started working together in the Asian Le Mans Series, so we’ve already done a fair number of races together.
“His car will be newer, but essentially it’s the same equipment.
“He’ll be doing stuff different with his driving style, I’ll be doing stuff different with my driving style, it’ll be good to learn from each other to see where we can benefit.
“Always having a second or third car will benefit the team a lot.”