Q&A with British GT champion Jonny Adam
On Sunday Jonny Adam did what Jonny Adam always somehow manages to do at the #DoningtonDecider: win a British GT title!
The factory Aston Martin Racing driver’s fourth crown in five years – all achieved with AMR but each with a different co-driver – was anything but straightforward. A tricky qualifying session, 20s Success Penalty and late-race incident ensured 2019’s championship challenge, which appeared all-but over after Silverstone, will go down as the Scot’s most rewarding to date.
In Jonny’s own words, this is how his and TF Sport co-driver Graham Davidson’s weekend unfolded:
Having qualified fourth and with your main title rival ahead of you on the grid, did you change your strategy before the race began?
“We saved two sets of tyres for the race so were hampered for pace in free practice, but we played the long game for the race strategy and it paid off. Our qualifying performance was ok but after the session the team looked into a small issue and decided to replace the gearbox on Saturday night. It made a huge difference and the car was perfect on race day.”
What were you thinking as you watched Graham’s stint unfold?
“I was actually very calm on the pit wall and just feeding him the right information as needed. I didn’t tell him where the other championship contenders were but he was absolutely on it and driving exceptionally well, so after the halfway point I had a good feeling that it would be close and we could leap-frog the number 69 Lamborghini in the pits.”
As you switched over in the pit lane did Graham say anything to you?
“We only have about 45 seconds to chat. He passed on some tips about the car’s handling characteristics, but I could see from his last five laps the pace was strong for us.”
A cracking pit stop meant you got out just ahead of you title rivals, what were you thinking at that point as you headed out onto track?
“Our pit stop was just 0.1 seconds over which got us out in front. It’s easier being in front which is nice, but the Lamborghini looked sharp straight out the pits so I had to push on to maintain that position.”
You seemed to be comfortably managing the race before the safety car came out, were you cursing the fact that it appeared and closed up all the gaps?
“It was a tricky situation as I didn’t want to put too much pressure on the BMW ahead in third place and get caught up in a battle, but at the same time the pace of our Vantage was really good so I was pushing. It was all going to plan and felt controlled until I heard the radio call for a safety car!”
What was going through your mind when Dennis Lind appeared in your mirrors and was pushing hard to get past?
“I knew something might happen as he was clearly on a charge, but I just focussed on positioning the car in the right place and using our strengths in sector two to maintain a small advantage. With the championship in mind all I wanted to do was stay out of trouble as things were going our way as the race was drawing to a close.”
How would you describe the moments that led up to the collision, and what happened immediately after it?
“It was unfair and the stewards clearly agreed, but the damage was serious and we were fortunate to finish at all. We actually had a slow puncture and after the race the tyre was completely flat, so Lady Luck was 100% on our side.”
What was the atmosphere like when you got back into the pit garage after the race?
“It was tense as we knew the stewards were looking at it, but nobody knew for sure what the outcome would be. It was a shame not to be able to celebrate on the podium in front of the fans, but after we were told about the swap in positions and the championship was won we had a great atmosphere and celebrations with the team, friends, sponsors and family in the pits.”
Did you speak to Dennis in the aftermath of the race?
“I’ve spoken to Dennis and there’s no bad feelings. He races hard and I am sure we’ll be racing closely again in the near future.”
How does this fourth British GT title compare to the others?
“This one feels very rewarding because it was so far out of reach after Silverstone. I had my head in my hands watching a win slip through our fingers back in June, but I was determined the championship could be turned around with hard work and wee bit of luck. Our focus on making the most of our opportunities from then on really paid off.”
How did you celebrate the title win, was it party time?
“Eh no, I had a curry, a beer and a nice cup of tea to finish. It wasn’t very rock and roll, but I had an early start for media duties at Aston Martin HQ on Monday morning so couldn’t turn up to that with a hangover! Partying will have to wait until the season is over.”
So you’ve won four British GT titles in five years. You must be bored of winning this championship now?!
“Never! It’s a great series, and aside from the fact that I’ve been lucky enough to race with different teams and team-mates which has kept things interesting it’s also an important championship for Aston Martin as a UK manufacturer.”
Will you be back for another go at making it five next season?
“I’ve been competing in the championship for eight years now, but my motivation to go for title number five is high. That decision is down to Aston Martin Racing though, I’ll race anywhere the factory needs me so we’ll see what happens over the next few months. I’ve still got a lot of racing to do in other series this year, so I need to stay sharp and focus on delivering in those campaigns too over the next few months.”