Optimum Motorsport head to Monza for International GT Open
Optimum Motorsport head to Monza, Italy, this weekend (26-27 July) for the fourth round of International GT Open, expecting a strong showing at a circuit that should play to the strengths of the McLaren 720S GT3 package.
Nick Moss and Joe Osborne team up once again in the #72 entry, the former currently third in the Pro-Am standings with 22 points. The pairing have both enjoyed a string of class podium positions, something they wish to rekindle this weekend in Italy.
The #7 entry has also enjoyed its fair share of success in the three rounds to date with Brendan Iribe making big strides in his rookie campaign last time out in Austria. He and teammate Ollie Millroy are fourth in the standings having secured three class podiums, just one-point shy of the sister McLaren.
Practice gets underway on Friday with qualifying on Saturday morning and the race at 15.30. This is repeated Sunday with the race at an earlier time of 15.05.
Alex Fleming, Optimum Motorsport Race Engineer
The season is going well for both sides of the garage with the bronze racers making gains in recent events. This is presumably down to Nick and Brendan feeling more comfortable in the GT3 environment and also the team adapting to the 720S GT3?
“The decision to step up to GT3 from GT4 came quite late for Brendan and Nick so they’ve had a steep learning curve. Utilising the downforce of the GT3 car and the required driving technique to extract the most from the car has probably been their biggest challenge. However, it’s a challenge they’re enjoying the season and you see can their confidence growing with every event. They’re both now regular podium contenders which is great.
“The 720S is a new car for us so there’s been a huge amount to understand in a compressed 2020 schedule. We also have the added variable of a Michelin tyre to get our heads around for GT Open. We’ve been strong over the first three events but we’re still working through a number of test items and we’re confident there’s more performance to come.”
Monza is all about straight line speed and braking stability. These should play to the strengths of the McLaren package; how can you further hone the setup to help the drivers extract the best from the car?
“We’ve not yet tested the car at Monza, so we’ve got quite a lot to work through prior to qualifying and racing on Saturday. We’ve seen from last year that the 720S was strong here so we’re looking forward to the challenge. Fortunately, we’ve got drivers who give clear feedback so that should make our lives a little easier”
Learnings from Monza can be applicable to the following race at Spa as straights dominate the first and third sectors there as well. Is this something you keep in the back of your mind this weekend?
“We’re continually building our knowledge base with every event we do so I don’t think Monza is any exception. I think Spa is more about striking the balance between performance in sector 1 and 3 Vs performance in sector 2, which could vary from qualifying to the race. There’s a good chance of Spa being cold and wet in which case sector 1 and 3 are no longer quite so straightforward!”