With three class victories to the team’s credit already, Optimum Motorsport hoped to add to that tally in the 2019 edition of the 24 Hours of Dubai. Despite their best efforts and solid pace, the team had to be content with eight position in the GT4 class after a mechanical problem overnight lost the team valuable laps to the competition.
It was an all-new driver line-up this year for Optimum Motorsport with new British GT signing Jack Butel joining Brent Millage, Russ Olivant and Lew Proctor in the #432 Ginetta G55 GT4. The team took the opportunity of private testing ahead of official practice and qualifying to enable the drivers to get used to the circuit and car.
Jack pushed hard in qualifying and subsequently started the race from 11th position on the grid. His opening laps were sensational as he carved his way up to sixth position before the first Code 60 of the day slowed the field. He completed his stint, running as high as third as his rivals pitted, before handing the car over to Lew for his first stint of the race.
The team opted to run long where possible with Russ running well in seventh position before handing back to Lew. It was all going smoothly until the 11-hour mark when Brent was forced to pit with a differential issue. This ultimately cost the team 17-laps, taking them out of contention for any potential podium position. Contact late in the race cost further time, but the team pushed on, recovering from 11th position to eighth at the chequered flag.
“It’s great to have secured a finish in this 24-Hour race – that is an achievement in itself with so many entries all pushing for position,” said Team Principal Shaun Goff. “It’s a shame that we had a few incidents as that took us out of the running when we looked to be competitive.
“We had four new drivers for the event and the 24-Hour series and three of those had never driven the Ginetta before, so to run as well as we did is credit to them and the team,” he continued. “Of course, we would have liked to finish higher up, but eighth position in such a competitive field and with the issues we had is still a good result.”
Optimum Motorsport now return to base to prepare for the forthcoming British GT Championship to defend the GT3 title, while also fielding two cars in the GT4 category.