Optimum Motorsport will field a second McLaren 720S GT3 in GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with already confirmed British GT teammates Nick Foster and Martin Berry, who are joined by Yasser Shahin for a Pro-Am challenge in the newly renamed championship.
The team has already announced Ollie Wilkinson, Joe Osborne and Rob Bell in an all Pro line-up in the Endurance Cup, making it a two-pronged programme for the McLaren Customer Racing team.
Nick competed in the championship last season, securing three top-five finishes from his five starts with Attempto Racing. He also took victory in the SRO-run Intercontinental GT Challenge round at Laguna Seca, so will be more than familiar with the challenge ahead. Currently, he competes in the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series, where he has secured three runner-up positions from three starts.
Martin, champion in the 2017 Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific, competed with Rinaldi Racing last year in the Am class of the series, securing a season-best of third at Paul Ricard and as well as three other top-six finishes.
Yasser, Executive Chairman The Bend Motorsport Park, meanwhile has a wealth of experience in his native Australia but will be facing a new challenge as he competes on some of the finest circuits in Europe for the first time. He did however finish in tenth position at Spa -Francorchamps last year at the wheel of the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup in a one-off outing in the Endurance Cup.
The five-round championship gets underway at Monza on 19 April and concludes with the Nürburgring round in September.
Shaun Goff, Optimum Motorsport Team Principal
“It was always our intention to field two cars in GT World Challenge Europe and to do this as part of the McLaren Customer Racing programme is a big step for us as a team. With entries in both the Pro-Am and Pro championship, I’m looking forward to the season ahead where I believe our pre-season preparation will stand us in good stead. It’s a pleasure to welcome Yasser to the team; we aim to give him the best tools in the business to get the job done.”
“We’re continuing our Australian theme through 2020, so it’s really exciting to be in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup and I’m looking forward to hitting the track in testing at Paul Ricard.
“From my side, I’m stoked with the second race programme and continuing with Martin and Optimum Motorsport. It’s great continuity with both the British GT Championship and GTWC. I’m looking forward to returning to the blue riband events of GT racing and to have Yasser on board is a bonus. We’ve had a relationship for a long time, so it’s good to be racing with him as a very strong Bronze driver and a good bloke to have in the car.”
“Having established such a strong platform with Nick and Optimum Motorsport for British GT, it was only logical to extend this further into a return to GT World Challenge. Partnering with Nick in the same car and same team for both championships will help to add a lot of consistency and it’s great to be able to field an all-Australian team with the addition of good mate Yasser!”
On behalf of Yasser Shahin, Executive Chairman The Bend Motorsport Park
“The Bend Motorsport Park’s Yasser Shahin is proud to be part of an all Australian contingent participating in the premier GT3 race series globally.”