Optimum Motorsport aims to close down title deficit as British GT heads to Brands Hatch
Just 16 points separate Optimum Motorsport’s pairing of Ollie Wilkinson and Lewis Proctor from the lead of the Silver Cup in the Intelligent Money British GT championship, as the series heads to Brands Hatch this coming weekend (August 29-30) for a single two-hour race.
It has been a solid start to the season with runner-up positions in the #96 McLaren 720S at both Oulton Park and Donington last time out. Brands Hatch meanwhile has been a good venue for the team in recent years with Ollie claiming the Silver Cup title last year at the Kent venue, after finishing second in class, 11th overall.
Round 5 of the championship offers 1.5 times the normal points – 37.5 for the win – and is therefore the perfect opportunity for Ollie and Lewis to close make gains from fourth position in the Championship.
The race weekend features two practice sessions and qualifying on Saturday, with a short Sunday warmup and then the race from 13.00.
Tom Sanders, Optimum Motorsport Data Engineer
Tom works alongside Race Engineer Alex Fleming to extract the best possible pace from the McLaren 720S GT3 package.
You have a broad role in the performance of the car at each event. What challenges does Brands Hatch bring to the mix?
"The GP layout rewards high precision and leaves little room for error with its blind corners and shallow runoff. Using the data and video systems allows us to compare our drivers side by side where we can check positioning on track as well as the usual driver inputs. From a car perspective, myself and Alex have to consider the high compression exiting Paddock Hill corner and giving the driver a well-balanced car so they can attack the tricky middle sector of the lap."
You work with the 720S GT3s in three differing championships, what crossover is there in terms of data and performance week in and week out?
"Having multiple 720S GT3s racing every week means we have already built up a vast library of data to reference. This allows us to analyse any issue and act very quickly upon it quickly. We can also try a setup change to improve car performance, knowing it will likely be able to carry over to the other championships we compete in."
Drivers all have slightly differing driving styles. Is there a compromise in terms of setup between Ollie and Lewis in British GT, or is it a case of setting the car up for peak performance and then asking the drivers to adapt?
"Overall, the feedback from Ollie and Lewis is very similar, so it allows us to take the car in a direction they need it. We can see what they describe in the data and use both to drive the car's set up. This gives them the confidence to push and brings out the best performance from them."
After Brands Hatch, the team have two quite different challenges in GT World Challenge Europe (Nurburgring) and GT Open (Red Bull Ring). Will this weekend’s event enable you to try anything to aid in the upcoming events?
"As mentioned earlier, if we find something positive from a setup change, we can usually carry that over to the other championships. Just being mindful of the difference in tyre manufacturer and often the differing weather conditions we experience in the UK compared to Europe. But each track or event still has its unique challenges.
“GTWC at Nurburgring will be the longest race so far for our McLaren at six hours, and GT Open at Red Bull Ring will require extra focus on engine and braking performance due to the higher altitude."