A strong finish to the GT Open season in Barcelona for Optimum Motorsport
Optimum Motorsport concluded its 2018 International GT Open campaign in style on Sunday (21 October) with a storming drive from Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis through the field in Barcelona to finish a superb second in class, sixth overall.
The result means that the Ollie and Bradley finish the season in fourth position overall with 48 points, despite missing the Paul Ricard double header earlier in the year.
The opening round of the weekend proved to be a difficult race with Bradley making a good start from the rolling start to again one position and run in eighth overall, fifth in class, behind the #333 of David Parel before a safety car period. The pitstop window opened soon afterwards with Ollie taking over the #96 Audi R8 LMS. Bradley made further progress as he ran a long opening stint before pitting on lap 21.
Ollie was almost immediately hit by a rival, breaking the wheel valve and sending him back to the pits for service. He resumed towards the back of the field before finishing ninth in class and 23rd overall. Much better was to come the following day.Sunday’s 60-minute race saw Ollie start in P9, 26th overall with the GT3 rookie making a good start to gain three positions in class. He resumed the battle with the #333, this time driven by Rinat Salikhov, before the Ferrari racer was handed a drive through penalty for earlier contact.
Running an impressive fifth in class, Ollie pitted soon after the pitstop window opened and handed over to Bradley. The team gained advantage over the nearest rival Tom Onslow-Cole in the stop to resume still in fifth position before Bradley picked off the #71 to run P4. By lap 23 Bradley was up to third behind the #23 of Marcelo Hahn, #72 Mario Plachutta. The latter was soon dropping down the order, promoting Bradley to a fine second position in class, a position he would retain to the final chequered flag of the season.
The class leading Pro-Am #36 Mercedes however was not eligible for points in this round, so Optimum Motorsport claimed the ten points for the victory.
One year on from their debut in the Championship, Optimum Motorsport have taken two victories and proved to be on the pace throughout the campaign as they now look ahead to the 2019 season and a Championship challenge.
Shaun Goff, Team Principal
“This weekend was a bit of a roller-coaster for us. Ollie was unwell on the Friday and had limited track time as a result and the opening race proved to be disappointing. Sunday’s second race however was much better, and it was a great performance from the team and drivers to secure the runner-up position.
“Almost without exception, we have been competitive all year long. It was Ollie’s first full season of GT3 competition, so we have enjoyed a strong and successful programme and we can look forward to an exciting season in 2019.”
“Was a nice way to end the weekend and the season. This season has been difficult at times but we as a team have learnt a lot and I hope this carries on to 2019 where - fingers crossed - we can go for the championship.”