Optimum Motorsport gunning for glory in ‘winner takes all’ title showdown
Optimum Motorsport’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson are gunning for GT4 title glory in the Pirelli British GT Championship, which concludes with a ‘winner takes all’ showdown at Donington Park (10-11 September).
It’s fair to say the Johnson-Robinson pairing has been the most consistent of the year; they headed the GT4 table for the most part, but freak incidents have hurt their title charge and only 2.5 points separate the PMW World Expo drivers from title foe Jack Bartholomew of Beechdean AMR.
Optimum Motorsport subsequently faces a ‘winner takes all’ scenario entering the British GT ‘Donington decider’; with points awarded for positions first to ninth, the GT4 title will go the way of Johnson and Robinson if they finish ahead of Bartholomew, but pit stop success penalties could determine the outcome.
As a legacy of his win in race two at Snetterton, Bartholomew’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage will remain stationary for 20 seconds – five seconds longer than Johnson and Robinson’s Ginetta G55 – during the mandatory driver changes.
However, the Aston Martin also carries more ballast following a post-Snetterton shift in the British GT Balance of Performance (BoP) and Optimum Motorsport fully expects to take the fight to Beechdean AMR on pure pace at Donington Park.
The first challenge will be to qualify in front and then maintain position on the run to the pit stops, but a strong final stint could be the deciding factor in the GT4 title race and Optimum Motorsport Team Principal, Shaun Goff, said: “I’ve thought about what it will be like if the result goes the right way, or the wrong way and it’s difficult to articulate what I’m expecting in that sense. There is always a little bit of anxiety, but I definitely think we can fight for the win and that will be enough to win the title, but the priority will be to simply finish ahead of the Beechdean car – it’s that simple.
"That there aren’t loads of different permutations and we can focus on one rival is nice, as we’ll just have to perform one chess move and that’ll be checkmate. We’re likely to emerge from the stops in the pack and it ultimately comes down to who gets to the chequered flag first. It’s certainly going to be intense!”
Pirelli British GT Championship free practice will take place at 9.40 and 12.20, with GT4 qualifying at 16.43 later that same day (Saturday 10 September) and the two-hour Donington Decider itself from 13.00 the following day (Sunday 11 September).