#DoningtonDecider: Adam backing co-driver Johnston to make the difference

#DoningtonDecider: Adam backing co-driver Johnston to make the difference

Jonny Adam believes his TF Sport co-driver Derek Johnston could make all the difference during this weekend’s British GT title decider at Donington Park.


The pair currently lie 11.5 points behind Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen, whom they must beat by at least two places over the course of Sunday’s two-hour encounter to have any chance of stealing the GT3 drivers’ crown.


Finishing first and second at the previous round ensures both crews will serve lengthy success penalties during their mandatory driver changes - Minshaw and Keen 20 seconds, Johnston and Adam 15 - but the Scot doesn’t think that will be a big enough factor alone to determine who emerges on top. 


Instead, Adam believes it will be Johnston’s prowess around Donington Park, where he won 12 months ago, that could prove vital, especially if his co-driver re-produces the sort of form that made him such a dominant force amongst the Am contingent at the start of the season.


“We’re going all out to win the race this weekend because that gives us the best chance of also capturing the title, but to do so we’ll need Derek to be on top form” revealed the reigning champion, who is aiming to become the first driver to successfully defend a British GT title.


“The wind was taken from our sails a bit during the middle part of the season. But, before crashing in the wet at Silverstone, Derek had been absolutely flying. That was especially true at Rockingham where he drove what I consider to be the best Am stint of the season by pulling out a 10-second lead over the first 50 minutes. He definitely has the capability to do it again.


“He was untouchable that day because he likes Rockingham, and I’ve started to sense that same confidence ahead of this weekend, too. Donington’s his favourite track, he won his first British GT3 race there last season in the same car for the same team, and has huge incentive to do well.”


Adam helped Andrew Howard capture the first of his two British GT titles at Donington Park in 2013 before winning last year’s crown together at the same venue, and recognises similarities between his former and current co-drivers.


“Yeah, Derek and Andrew definitely share some of the same traits,” he confirmed. “There’s been no stone left unturned ahead of this weekend, just as there wasn’t when I was with Beechdean AMR. It’s easy to underestimate just how much effort gentleman drivers put into their racing, but Derek is very dedicated to it. We’ve done our homework and spent a total of 14 hours on the sim this year, with three of those leading up to this weekend. No-one’s taking it lightly.”


Maybe so, but there’s also no denying that it was the #17 TF Sport Aston Martin’s title to lose after the two opening British GT weekends when successive victories gave Johnston and Adam a 36.5-point lead over their nearest rivals. Four months later, and having scored just 61 points more, the pair are on the back foot heading into the final round.


Adam is philosophical though, pointing out that his situation is no different to anyone else on the grid.


“Everyone’s got a tail to tell; Minshaw and Keen didn’t score a point at the opening race and look where they are now,” he said. “There are definitely a couple of weekends we can look back on knowing that without issues - crashing out at Silverstone, practice shunt on oil at Spa, tangled seatbelt at Snetterton - we might have already wrapped up the championship. But everyone’s been through something similar. We just happened to score a lot of points at the start. And, despite everything, we still have a very good chance this weekend.


“I think it will be up in the air until the chequered flag on Sunday.”


Motors TV will broadcast live coverage of British GT’s #DoningtonDecider from 12:30 this Sunday.