Tom Canning impresses on Gulf 12 Hour debut!

December 17, 2018

Tom Canning made his International debut as he was invited by Aston Martin Racing to take part in the Gulf 12 Hour in the GT4 class. After great progress in this year’s British GT championship it was a great opportunity for Tom to go and test his skills against drivers from around the World who had gathered at the Yas Marina Circuit for the eighth running of the event.

Racing alongsideTom in the brand-new Aston Martin Vantage GT4 would be Mark Farmer, Oliver Wilkinson and Adrian Willmott with Tom the youngest in the team and one of the youngest in the entire paddock! There was lots for Tom to learn and not a lot of time to do it in, he’d have to adjust to both the car and track and with a lap well over two minutes long that certainly wouldn’t happen quickly.

With practice completed the team was not looking in bad shape with Tom growing ever confident and all the hard work put in paid off in Qualifying with Tom going 2nd in the opening session. He would be the quickest of all the team throughout the three sessions and that helped them secure pole position for the race! It was a fantastic performance with Tom the star of the show in GT4.

What’s even more impressive is that Tom’s teammates included British GT race winners and drivers who have been in this game for a very long time. But despite the odds stacking up against him he was quickest, now it was about converting that pace into a race win.

Tom would not start the race but would watch on with the team in hope of a clean start. Unfortunately that would not happen after contact from a rival team on the opening lap forced the team to pit and it wasn’t until 80 minutes later that they emerged. The odds of the team winning were completely slashed but with over ten hours remaining the team would keep fighting for the best result they could.

Tom would jump in the car for the third stint as the team climbed back up to 5th position and set a personal best lap in the process. With a race win out of reach for Tom it was about showing his potential in the car and he did that in bucket loads all of which had helped the Aston Martin finish the first half of the race in an impressive 4th place. A podium, however, was some 24 laps up the road but the team were hopeful their luck would change in the second half of the race.

With six hours complete it was time for a scheduled 90-minute service break before the race resumed.

Tom would take the third and final stint in the race, on track luck for his teammates had not changed with Wilmott running into problems halfway through his stint which saw another lengthy stop for the team. It further decreased the chances of a podium but that didn’t deepen the spirits and when Tom took over for the final stint he was setting personal best laps once again!

Although Tom was able to bring the gap down to 3rd place the damage done at the beginning of the race was too strong and left Tom and the team having to settle for 4th place. Tom’s personal performance was fantastic as he was the quickest in the team all weekend on a track he had never seen before and a car he had never seen before!

His consistency over both stints was tremendous and there’s no doubt he would have had Aston Martin very impressed. With a trouble-less race it very much could have been the top step for the team, but that’s racing and Tom will have to take away the positivity from his performance and the experience gained rather than a trophy.