Optimum Motorsport brings new GT3 Audi to British GT and 24H Series
One of Europe’s foremost GT4 squads, Optimum Motorsport, will move up to the GT3 classification for 2016, and field the first customer Audi R8 LMS GT3 in campaigns across the British GT Championship and 24H Series next season.
Building on a highly successful 2015 where Optimum has taken class wins in the Dubai 24 Hours, Mugello 12 Hours and is in contention to finish as runner-up in the highly competitive British GT4 Championship, Team Principal Shaun Goff has decided now is the time to progress.
After a considered approach to select a manufacturer to work with, Audi’s Quattro GmBh was selected, and the new generation mid-engined R8 sports car, ready for the new GT3 regulations of 2016, has already completed significant race mileage, winning the Nürburgring 24 Hours, and enjoying a second successful 24-hour race weekend in the 24 Hours of Spa, where the new-look Audi took pole and finished 2nd and 3rd, narrowly missing out on victory.
Audi’s 5.2-litre V10 engine, with a power output of up to 585 bhp, will power the car and a new six-speed transmission with paddle shift has also been added. The new R8 LMS GT3 is said to be significantly lighter than its predecessor, weighing in an agile 1225 kg.
A stalwart of the Ginetta brand since the Yorkshire-based team was founded in 2007, Optimum has created a new team of mechanics and engineers to specialise in the running of the Audi, combining its proposed GT3 campaign in British GT alongside a recently announced second GT4 season for Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson in a Ginetta G55 GT4.Goff is now looking to attract drivers for the proposed British GT and 24H Series campaigns, and will debut the car at the Dubai Autodrome for the 2016 Dubai 24 Hours (14-16 January 2016), where the team is looking to build on its pair of SP3-GT4 victories in the past four years.
Shaun Goff, Team Principal, Optimum Motorsport:
“The previous R8 was a world-beater and in its debut year, the new R8 LMS has already taken a massive victory on the Nordschleife, and almost followed that up with a win in the Spa 24 Hour. The car should work incredibly well in the UK as well as on European tracks, and that stands us in good stead for the forthcoming years. The calibre of Audi’s customer department combined with the obvious performance built into the car were an enticing mix for us, and they really made it clear that they wanted to work with us. That proved crucial and was a major factor in my decision-making. Our plan is to find a strong pairing for British GT to mount a serious attempt at the title in our first year, and the Creventic-owned 24H Series is just getting better and better. The GT3 class is attracting big names and we’ve begun discussions with some drivers already.”