Optimum Motorsport return to Spa-Francorchamps in the fifth round of the British GT Championship this weekend.
After being denied of a podium at Donington Park last month, GT3 drivers Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis head to Belgium full of confidence.
The pair have already had a successful campaign in the series this year, securing the first podium of the season with the new Aston Martin GT3 Vantage at Oulton Park in April. They also had their taste of success at the Belgian circuit last year when they secured a class podium and win in the International GT Open double-header.
Reigning British GT champions Jonny Adam and Flick Haigh also claimed pole position for the team in the championship last season.
Although the team hasn’t been able to test the GT4s around the famous track, the team are hoping to bounce back after an unlucky weekend at Donington Park. Mike Robinson and Patrik Matthiesen are both familiar with the circuit with Mike finishing the round in second place during his championship winning British GT (GT4) season in 2016. Jack Butel has also finished on the podium at the circuit during his stint in the Henderson Cup two years ago, while Connor O’Brien is seeking his first dose of Belgian success.
After four rounds, Optimum Motorsport sit third in the GT3 team’s classification. Ollie and Brad lead the GT3 Silver Class and rank amongst the pros overall in fourth. The two GT4s are running in seventh and eighth in the GT4 Silver Class while the team are on the cusp of the overall GT4 teams top ten.
Optimum Motorsport Team Principal, Shaun Goff
“We’ve tested the GT3 at Spa on a few occasions this year and it’s gone really well. I believe Ollie is confident in his own driving ability and that will pay dividends in the two-hour race. Bradley is hugely experienced around Spa and I think the overall combination of both the Aston Martin and the drivers will hopefully create a good formula for success there in what could be an overall podium or win. Unfortunately, we haven’t tested at Spa with the GT4s and we haven’t been out in the car since Donington. But we’ve been working on the setup behind the scenes. The drivers have been working incredibly hard in the simulators and we’re hoping for a competitive BoP which will hopefully bring the Aston GT4s to the forefront. We’re really looking forward to Spa and hopefully we can have some better luck.”
Ollie Wilkinson, #96 GT3
“I’m really looking forward to it, Spa is my favourite racetrack and to be getting to drive there is certainly very exciting. The car and team have shown good pace there in the past, so we will be looking to claim our first British GT victory!”
Bradley Ellis, #96 GT3
“I’m excited to be racing at such an iconic racetrack. Spa always holds big challenges for the drivers and cars and I’m looking forward to tackling them. Ollie and I had a strong result at Spa last year in the GT Open championship, so I hope we are able to replicate that success this year in British GT.”
Connor O’Brien, #35 GT4
“There’s only a couple more days to wait until Spa and I really can’t wait! We’ve got a better BoP since Donington so we will have more power. I’ve been working really hard since the last round at Donington, now it’s time to let that hard work reflect.”
Jack Butel, #35 GT4
“I’ve never been in a GT car at Spa before, but I’ve been spending a lot of time in the simulator preparing for the weekend. I think the Astons have good speed through the corners and fingers crossed that we get a new BoP to be able to compete on the straights because I think we have a good chance of doing well this weekend. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m excited to go back to such an iconic track.”
Patrik Matthiesen, #75 GT4
“I have been busy preparing after the last race at Donington, so I look forward to getting back behind the wheel again. I really enjoy the circuit and the Aston Martin should suit the layout so hopefully we can come home with a trophy!”
Mike Robinson, #75 GT4
“I’m really looking forward to Spa, it’s such an amazing circuit to drive and a real highlight of the year. Since Silverstone we’ve made really good progress with the car. At Donington we really took the momentum from Silverstone and made more improvements to the car and I really enjoyed driving throughout the weekend. Everyone in the team were really positive about our pace at Donington, especially as we came away with a lot more ideas on how to improve the car further. We go to Spa with a good idea on what changes we want to make to the setup of the car which we think should give us more lap time. Our first aim is to be the fastest Aston and then hopefully the BoP and the circuit both work well for the new Aston GT4. If all three of those things come together, I’m optimistic we can aim for the win in Silver and hopefully an overall podium. Overall like everyone on the grid, I can’t wait to get to Spa and get out on track.”