The Aston Man

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He has raced in British GT since 2011, and has a total of 11 GT3 wins, the joint most in British GT history, and has won the title twice, something he is looking to do all over again with TF Sport and Am driver Derek Johnston this year. 

We caught up with Jonny ahead of the Silverstone British GT round to see why he has spent so much of his career in GT racing. 

“GT racing has led me to professional driving status and I’ve had a contract with Aston Martin now since 2013,” he says. “British GT is a really important part of the Aston programme and it’s still a personal goal for me to try and win another championship.

“I still do a lot of driver coaching in the UK so British GT has got a nice profile and appeals to a lot of people. So, to still be at the front of the championship certainly helps with that.” 

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As an Aston Martin factory driver Jonny adds: “It’s busy; this year we have three full championships – so 24 weekends – but it’s great because I have a mix of customer stuff but full pro status with the factory team. There’s a lot on the horizon as well: we’ve got potentially some new equipment coming through in the next couple of years so it’s exciting times ahead.”

For the second year in a row Jonny is racing with Am driver Derek Johnston and last year the pair took the championship title, which is something they’re very much looking to do again. 

“Derek’s fast, he’s good and easy to work with, all he needs are small bits of information to take him to the next level,” explains Jonny. “Last year was a great milestone for him: he’s been in the championship a long time so to win last year was a big personal goal for him. Even today, walking into the garage, and seeing the number one on the car is a good incentive.

“The key to unlocking the speed of an Am driver is lots of preparation. Derek and I do a lot of simulator work but it’s also about data. A lot of Pros get caught up in trying to explain every bit of data to the Am drivers but sometimes you need to dilute it down, because it could be just one or two corners that they’re struggling on. If you can get your Am to within two seconds of the Pro time, then they’re a great Am – so that’s what we are always trying to achieve with Derek.”

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This year Pirelli introduced a new tyre for the British GT grid, the P Zero DHD. Jonny says: “We first drove the new tyre in Portimao, in Portugal. We went there in late February to do a test and straight off the bat the tyre was a little bit faster and more consistent, which is great for a front-engined car like ours as we sometimes suffer with front tyre degradation. It’s a great tyre for the Pro but more so for the Am because if the Am doesn't get a fast first lap out of the tyre they can go again on the second or third lap, which takes the pressure off a little. It’s a great step forward.”

At home, Jonny cites Oulton Park as his favourite circuit, as it’s a proper “drivers’ track”, and abroad he likes Spa because it requires full commitment. Then there’s also Le Mans where he recently won the 24 Hour race in the GTE Pro class, which he likes because it’s so iconic, but the best circuit in the world for him is the Nurburgring Nordschleife. “It’s the toughest but most rewarding and enjoyable lap,” he points out. And who are we to argue with that?

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