Tom Sharp has brought his two year spell in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup to a close with a pair of eighteenth place finishes during a luckless double-header season finale in Mexico this past weekend (27/28 October).
The Surrey racer concludes an exciting run in the Supercup, which saw him competing against the best Porsche Carrera Cup drivers in the world at some iconic circuits across Europe and beyond in support of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Having previously competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain series, Sharp has competed in the Supercup with his own family team IDL Racing and has produced some great performances in one of the most competitive one-make GT championships in motorsport.
An exciting visit to South America and the thrilling Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit in Mexico City was the venue for Sharp’s final Supercup races – a technical track that includes a brilliant stadium section housing tens of thousands of passionate fans.
Sharp used Friday’s sole free practice session to get reacquainted with the 2.75 mile circuit and the affect of the high altitude in Mexico City, which meant the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars produced less power and lower top speeds than at other tracks.
The hard work paid off in qualifying the next day, with a great performance from Sharp seeing him improve his best lap-time from Friday by almost two seconds to finish less than eight tenths of a second off the top on his way to a pair of fifteenth place results.
That result means the racer ends the campaign with an impressive six top fifteen qualifying results out of ten and the record of finishing in the top twenty in every session this season.
The opening race of the weekend followed on Saturday afternoon, with a brilliant start seeing Sharp get right into the mix in the midfield action as he rose to twelfth on the opening lap alone, before picking up two more places on lap three to climb into tenth.
Fighting for a potential first top ten finish of the campaign, Sharp’s quest was unfortunately dashed a couple of laps later as contact whilst trying to defend his position sent him spinning down to the rear of the field, forcing him into a recovery drive.
The 27 year old matched the pace of those in the battle for tenth throughout the remainder of the race as he worked his way up five positions to eighteenth at the chequered flag, with his competitive lap-times putting him in positive spirits ahead of the final race.
Sadly Sharp’s hopes of a strong result to end the campaign were ruined at the first corner though as he got unceremoniously hit off circuit. Recovering back in 25th place, another battling comeback performance netted him a fifth top twenty finish of the year.
That result was the final chapter in Sharp’s two year tenure in the Supercup. Competing as one of the smallest teams in the series, Sharp and the IDL squad rose to the challenge to battle for the top ten throughout on their way to eleven top twenty race finishes.
Tom Sharp: “The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit is really enjoyable to drive, the Mexican fans are incredibly passionate and overall it has been a fantastic experience to race here again – which makes it more of a shame that we didn’t get the result we wanted.
“The meeting started positively in practice and I was happy with our qualifying performance. That breakthrough top ten result could have been ours in race one, however unfortunately it wasn’t to be and there was more contact in race two as well, which is a sad way to end the year.
“It’s been an incredible journey in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. As a driver, I would have naturally liked to have got some better results, but these really are the best Porsche drivers in the world and it’s an incredibly tough championship to enjoy success in.
“I’ve dreamt of racing in the series since being a young boy, so for me and my family it’s been a very special experience. I will truly remember it for the rest of my life and I can’t thank my team enough for all their hard work, and to our loyal sponsors for their great support.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. Porsche AG/Hoch Zwei