TF Sport founder Tom Ferrier says competing in the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship was the logical next stage in his team’s development.
The British outfit is graduating to the WEC this year off the back of a successful race-winning European Le Mans Series campaign with the Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
Former Porsche Carrera Cup GB stars Euan Hankey and Charlie Eastwood will team up with Turkish racer Salih Yoluc in a bid for GTE-Am class honors.
Founded in 2014, TF Sport has quickly scaled the sportscar ranks from GT4 on to GT3 and GTE.
Having achieved success in multiple national and European championships amounting to a 24 Hours of Le Mans berth last year, it quickly set foot on working towards its long-time goal of a full-on WEC program.
“We always wanted to race at the pinnacle of what we do in sportscars,” Ferrier told Sportscar365.
“Le Mans was slightly more of a goal to start with, but now to be given an opportunity to race full-time in WEC is fantastic.
“It’s been a fairly natural progression really with very few setbacks – probably a little fast track compared to some teams but if we look at the results we’ve achieved in recent seasons I think we’ve proved ourselves worthy of being here.”
In just four years, the team has established itself as a leading figure in British sports car racing, having won both the British GT Championship and Michelin GT Le Mans Cup in 2016.
TF Sport found more success last year when it clinched another title, in the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup Pro-Am category, while also finishing seventh in class in its Le Mans debut with Hankey, Yoluc and Rob Bell.
Ferrier said he wants to continue the upward swing of momentum but is also aware that the WEC poses a different level of challenge to British GT, Blancpain GT and ELMS.
“We’re under no illusion that there are some very good teams and driver lineups among us, but I would hope that we can be near the top,” he said.
“It would be a very special moment to get our first podium at a WEC event and that’s what we’re trying to achieve this year.
“Looking at what we’ve got in the team – in the overall championship, I think we can push and get a top three finish.”
Ferrier believed last year’s title-winning No. 98 Aston Martin of Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana can be a useful benchmark for his team in the nine-car strong GTE-Am ranks.
“Considering both teams will be running the same cars and tires, that’s our guideline,” he said. “It will be tough, but I’m sure we can be close to them on pace.”
Busy Year Ahead for TF Sport
Despite the new focus, TF Sport’s WEC involvement hasn’t stunted its ambitions on the national and continental GT3 scenes.
The team has entered two Astons in British GT, with factory assets Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen joining Mark Farmer and Derek Johnston respectively.
A Vantage GT3 has also been entered in the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup for reigning Pro-Am champion Ahmad Al-Harthy, although this year the Omani driver is in the Silver Cup with new team-mates Eastwood and Euan McKay.
The busy and varied GT3 programs are an integral part of his business model, according to Ferrier, who expects them to continue alongside the WEC program in perpetuity.
“Even if we had a two-car WEC program we would still make sure to have room for GT3,” he said.
“There are lots of customers out there who want to race GT3, and with the new Vantage coming next year we’re hoping to busier than we’ve ever been in that market.
“From a business point of view, the GTE budgets are very big and there are lots of GT3 customers who can’t afford the jump to do it, so there is always demand.
“Equally though, [WEC] is the pinnacle of sportscar racing. It isn’t the easiest place to stay in with the high budgets, but it’s where we want to be in the foreseeable future.
“I don’t see what we’re doing as a quick in-and-out.”