Optimum Motorsport aim to carry GT Open momentum to the Red Bull Ring
Optimum Motorsport head to Spielberg, Austria for the fifth and sixth rounds of International GT Open this coming weekend (12-13 September) in a confident frame of mind following a strong start to the season in Hungary and France.
The Red Bull Ring has been kind to the British-based team in recent years, with Ollie Wilkinson and Jonny Adam taking the overall victory last year, something the that all four drivers are more than keen to replicate in 2020.
Brendan Iribe and Ollie Millroy are currently fourth in the Pro-Am classification with 15 points, seven shy of the series leader following class podiums in three of the four rounds to date in the #7 McLaren 720s GT3.
Second place overall and a class win at Paul Ricard vaulted Nick Moss and new #72 teammate Joe Osborne into the title fight following a sensational showing. The former has 12 points and is sixth in the standings, while the latter is in eighth having missed the opening two Hungarian rounds.
The team enjoyed a successful test at the circuit last week and therefore head into the weekend seeking another strong showing. It is a fairly standard schedule with qualifying on Saturday morning and the first race at 16.25 CEST. Sunday is similar with the morning qualifying session, but the second race features an earlier start at 13.30.
Bas Leinders, Optimum Motorsport Team Manager
The team has enjoyed a good run of results already this year in GT Open, with podium positions and class wins in the first four rounds. How did the test go with the four drivers at the Red Bull Ring?
"Our Am drivers do not have a lot of experience, which means that they do not know most of the circuits but we have managed to complete some testing at the Red Bull Ring which was very useful to get them up to speed with the track. I think they can be competitive as Ollie Millroy and Joe Osborne have done a good job coaching Brendan and Nick. The whole set-up seems to be working well as they are improving from one weekend to another."
The circuit is relatively tight and twisty – more like Hungary than Paul Ricard – and is at a higher altitude, how does that affect the car in terms of power, braking and handing?
"Red Bull Ring is the hardest track for the brakes on the GT Open calendar and that will be factor in the races, general engine power will be a bit down because of the higher location but that is the same for all cars. There are not many corners and just two types of corner, the first three are stop and go, hard braking and hard on the power and the rest are medium speed flowing corners."
Both sides of the garage are competitive, and we saw some good battles last time out. Racing identical cars means that it is inevitable that they will be racing each other at various points.
"At Paul Ricard we had some close battles between our cars with both Joe and Ollie. Nick and Brendan have less experience in close racing and still have to learn a little as how to approach certain situations and the only way to do that is by gaining experience. This weekend, due to the success penalty time for car 72, we will most likely have opposite strategies, so our cars are less likely to cross paths."