Hopes were running high for Tom’s home race at Donington Park. Being the last race in the V8 Vantage GT4 before it is replaced by the brand-new car next season. Tom was determined to both give the retiring car a proper send off and achieve a great result at his home track with his home supporters.
Saturday was that of mixed conditions, with FP1 and FP2 both being run on a very slippery but dry track and qualifying being run on a wet but drying track. FP1 and FP2 were both successful, setting up the car ready for the race. The rain came down just after FP2 but had subsided with around 30 mins to go before qualifying. The qualifying session was one of the trickiest of the year, with the track conditions being like ice to start with. However, the track soon started to dry and the times kept dropping lower and lower. Tom was in a great position to chase the HHC Ginetta and soon posted a time good enough for P2 in the session, although as the track dried 2 drivers behind tom went quicker still dropping him down to P4. Teammate Jan ended up P4 in his session and with the combined times it was good enough for P6 overall.
Although rumours were Sundays 2-hour race was to be a wet one, the sun over Donington shone and the final race of the year was to be under perfect conditions.
Toms start couldn’t have been much better as he jumped his teammate beside him off the line and went up the inside of the Track Club Mclaren to claim P4. Toms pace clearly showed in the early stages as he dropped the championship leading BMW behind and was already challenging 3rd from the Tolman Mclaren. Tom tried a move but decided better of it to avoid any risks. He then gave the Mclaren space in front as he cleverly preserved the tyres and brakes. 25 mins into Toms stint, oil was dropped at the first corner and the leading Equippe Mclaren slid off into the gravel. Tom was up to 3rd and pressed the Tolman McLaren infront for 2nd place when the safety car came out because of the oil spill and debris on the track.
After 2 laps under the safety car, Tom noticed a vibration from the rear of the car. The vibration got worse and worse and forced Tom to pit with what was a slow puncture. Unfortunately, Tom went a lap down on the top 3 cars and fell outside of the top 10.
Despite this, Tom refused to give up and kept setting fast laps and soon caught the Ultra Tek Nissan and passed him for 9th place. Tom kept chasing hard whilst preserving the car for the second half of the race. Tom made the pitstop for refuelling, tyres and a driver change.
It seemed as though they could get a positive result out of the race but disaster struck as the team were wrongly penalised a 10 second stop and go for a pitstop infringement. This further dropped Jan and Tom out of contention of the top 10 and despite Jan’s best efforts to keep hopes alive, it was no good and the last race ended with a non-point scoring place outside the top 10.
Tom Wood “I’m happy that Jan and I were able to show our potential and our pace. To run inside the top 4 for so long and to be denied by a slow puncture that was unavoidable sort of sums up our season unfortunately.
Despite our season, I’m looking forward to staying loyal to Aston Martin and making a fresh new start with the new Vantage GT4 next year. I would like to thank all of my supporters and sponsors for coming out to watch as It means a lot to have so many people that believe in me. I would also like to thank Academy Motorsport for their hard work all year this year and for teaching me so much.
Thanks also goes out to my teammate Jan of whom I couldn’t wish for anything more in a teammate and a friend and to my parents for supporting me through thick and thin and being by my side whenever I needed.”
Tom’s season is now complete and plans for his 2019 campaign are well underway. Further news about Tom’s future will be announced in due course online and via his social media pages.