Optimum Motorsport celebrate first podium of the International GT Open season in Hungary
After a long wait, the International GT Open Championship got underway this weekend in Hungary and it was worth the wait for Optimum Motorsport; securing their first Pro-Am podium of 2020 following fine drives from Ollie Millroy and Brendan Iribe in the #7 McLaren 720S GT3 on Saturday.
The result was especially significant in that it was Brendan’s first race in GT3 machinery as the team now begin preparations for the next round of the championship at Paul Ricard in two weeks’ time.
Starting fourth on the grid and second in class, Ollie avoided the chaos of the first turn, which eliminated the sister #72 McLaren, and settled into seventh place. A long battle with the #16 McLaren PAM of Marcelo Hahn followed with Ollie making the move for what was then fifth position on lap 13, before closing down an eight second deficit to Miguel Ramos ahead.
The team opted to run a long first stint, with Brendan taking over the car on lap 23. The second portion of the race was impacted by two safety car periods, but the American GT3 rookie was right on the pace and fending of Pro drivers behind. A shunt from a rival with five minutes remaining effectively ended the race, with Brendan recording his first Pro-Am GT3 podium on his very first attempt.
The team had a more problematic Sunday with the #72 of Nick Moss / James Pickford finishing fifth in class ahead of the Brendan / Ollie #7 McLaren which unfortunately lost time in the mandatory pit stop.
The team take home silverware however, along with championship points in the Pro-Am standings. The team are next out at Donington Park next weekend for rounds 3 and 4 of the British GT season, before returning to GT Open action later this month in France.
Shaun Goff, Optimum Motorsport Team Principal
“Another great start to another championship! It was unfortunate to lose the #72 car due to contact at turn one. However, it was a great race for the sister car to grab and secure an impressive podium. Sunday’s race didn’t quite go to plan, but we scored some more points and more importantly, lots of race experience for our Bronze drivers to take away, which can only be of a benefit for the rest of the season.”
“Optimum Motorsport did a great job, the car was good throughout, so a satisfying weekend for us overall. As a team, we’re really happy with Saturday’s result and the car felt really planted in my qualifying stint. My race was solid and got us in a sensible position and then Brendan got in the car; his laps before the first safety car were unbelievable as he settled in really well. The first safety car in his stint was a bit unlucky for us as it bunched up some of the Pro-drivers right behind us. In saying that, Brendan was holding his own holding off the TF Sport car behind us and then there was the second safety car, ensuring the podium.”