Optimum Motorsport enters British GT Silverstone 500 with intent
Optimum Motorsport enters the 2016 Pirelli British GT Championship’s headlining Silverstone 500 event with intent, as it harbours a keen desire to not only bolster its GT4 title charge, but also unlock its potential in GT3 (11-12 June).
A record 51-car entry will turn out for the British GT Championship’s blue riband three-hour, 500-kilometre event on the Silverstone Grand Prix track, but Optimum Motorsport is unfazed by the increased competition and hopes it can leave a troubled start to its GT3 programme behind.
The team will benefit from Ryan Ratcliffe’s winning form at Silverstone; the Welshman achieved a maiden podium finish during a one-off British GT outing in 2014, using consistency and a stellar race strategy to translate a poor qualifying performance into a top three result at the end of the three-hour race.
Optimum Motorsport’s Audi R8 LMS had speed during Oulton Park’s double-header and a rapid driver combination made up of Ratcliffe and Will Moore means the team is aiming high for Sunday’s (12 June) race.
Optimum Motorsport Team Principal, Shaun Goff, said: “We go to Silverstone off the back of a character-building weekend for our GT3 boys, Ryan Ratcliffe and Will Moore, but we have had to put that behind us fairly quickly and look ahead. With Optimum Motorsport’s knowledge and experience of endurance race strategy and two quick and consistent drivers in the car, I like to think we have a bit of an advantage. A strong combined performance from both drivers should bring us into the top five or even onto the podium.”
In GT4, the team is looking to maintain its form after a perfect Bank Holiday weekend at Oulton Park a fortnight back.
Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson extended their championship lead by dominantly converting two pole positions into back-to-back race wins on the narrow Cheshire racetrack, overcoming a 15 second success penalty in race two.
Robinson and Johnson will be facing the most challenging outing so far on an extended 51-car grid, especially as, on paper, their Ginetta G55 GT4 doesn’t suit Silverstone’s fast and flowing Grand Prix configuration.
“In GT3, we’re there with the ability to do top-fives when things go well, but we do need to bring everything together and that’s no mean feat in a championship that’s as competitive at British GT,” said Goff. “In GT4, it’s all about keeping up momentum and limiting the damage to our championship lead, because we’re visiting less favorable circuits for the Ginetta. If we can stay out of trouble and target podiums or good points finishes at the very least, we’ll be in good shape come the end of the year, although we will have added pressure and freneticism from European GT4 entries at Silverstone.”