A near perfect GT Open race weekend for Optimum Motorsport at Paul Ricard!
Round three of International GT Open at Paul Ricard saw Optimum Motorsport build on the momentum gained in Hungary last time out, with the driver pairings of Nick Moss / Joe Osborne and Brendan Iribe / Ollie Millroy taking a sensation one-two result in Saturday’s race. This was backed up by a hard-fought battle to second and third in Sunday’s fourth round, making it a memorable and to near perfect race weekend for the British-based team.
Saturday’s race itself was relatively straight forward with Joe making a great start from fourth overall in his #72 McLaren to vault second by turn one, with Ollie dropping in behind in the #7. From there the duo lapped at a similar pace, gapping the cars behind until the mid-race driver change.
Nick took over from Joe and in a sensational stint, continued to extend his advantage, while Brendan found himself in a battle for third overall, eventually yielding the position to ensure his second-place finish in the Pro-Am class.
Sunday’s race was more difficult with Brendan and Nick qualifying in third and fifth respectively in class, the latter dropping back after his best lap was deleted due to track limits. The race brought drama with Brendan and Nick making contact whilst battling for position early in the 60-minute race. They both regrouped and pushed on, handing over to Joe and Ollie once the pitstop window opened.
The two Pro-drivers wasted no time; running line-astern they moved up the order, closing down an eight second margin on the #88 of Christian Klien. Come the chequered flag, Joe was just half a second behind in P2, sixth overall, with Ollie right behind.
With four podium positions from a sensational event, the team now begin preparations for next weekend’s fifth round of the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch. The next GT Open race takes place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on September 12/13.
Shaun Goff, Optimum Motorsport Team Principal
“We’re continuing to learn a great deal about the McLaren 720S as a team and we have had a good weekend here in France results wise. There are always areas where we can make further gains, and we’ll be doing that going into the forthcoming races both in GT Open and in our other championships. To get a first and second on Saturday and then a second and third today is testament to the hard work from everyone in the Optimum Motorsport team and we look forward to many more great weekends of racing ahead.”
“My debut in GT Open and my first-time racing with Nick and here we are with a Pro-Am win and P2 overall! Qualifying was good, we lost a couple of best laps due to track limits, so we should have been P2, but we got that back at the start and had a nice battle with Ollie at the start and took the position. Nick got his head down and just went for it in what is probably the best stint of his life, and even with the Pros catching him, he was able to up the pace to defend. So, a really good result. Sunday was tougher, but we leave with a P2 result and now we look forward to the next one in Austria.”
“I was super-happy with the qualifying performance and while I’m still very new to the car and learning all about it, it still felt very good. On high fuel in race one, I learned a lot as well, it was a good stint; and yes - at the start - I could have been more aggressive if it wasn’t my teammate Joe! In this game it is the Pro-drivers task to make sure you get the car back for the Am driver to get in, so my job was to match the pace of Joe once he got the jump and I’m happy with my pace after that. I handed over to Brendan who again did an awesome job, under pressure in the closing stages and then got his head down and was able to pull a gap. He is enjoying his racing and his learning curve is impressive. Contact in race two put us on the back foot. I pushed as hard as possible to make up ground and third in Pro-Am was best we could do.”