Optimum Motorsport out of luck in Mugello 12H
It started with a run at the front, but it ended with a Did Not Finish today (18 March, 2017) in what was a frustrating and disappointing 12H Mugello for Optimum Motorsport in the Creventic 24H Endurance Series.
The team had high hopes of extending their championship advantage off the back of victory last time out in Dubai with the #231 Ginetta G55 GT4. This weekend however proved to be a tough challenge, almost from the outset.
The 12H race was split into two segments, the first a four-hour race on Friday, the second, eight hours scheduled for Saturday. The start saw new recruit Tom Hibbert take the first stint, moving to the head of the SP3 field only for a two-minute stop-go penalty dropping the team down to fourth.
Undeterred, Dan O’Brien resumed, quickly closing back in on a potential podium position before a drive shaft failure ended the running for the day. The team worked hard to fix the G55 and managed to return just 15 minutes before Parc Ferme conditions came into effect and were therefore were able to resume on the Saturday with it all to do.
Part two of the race proved equally as frustrating for the team with first Ade Barwick and then Hibbert behind the wheel. Barwick suffered suspension damage in the first hour following light contact and then Hibbert took over for the second stint of the day only for a yet to be diagnosed mechanical issue forced him to pull to a halt.
Having parked the Ginetta, the #65 Porsche came around and struck the back of the car ending the day once and for all with 100 laps complete.
“You can say this was a tough one,” stated Team Principal Shaun Goff. “For whatever reason the car came to a halt and was stationary for a minute under yellows and then the Porsche rear ended us. Almost exactly the same thing happened last year with our Audi, so that’s unbelievable. The positive is that Tom is all okay.
“We’re not done in the championship by any means, although our main rival is still running today. But we’re holding on, onwards and upwards. The car is badly damaged obviously, we have a spare if needed but we can get a new chassis as the impact is consolidated in one area, so it’s fixable.
“It’s been a tough weekend for the team and drivers, but we will bounce back and we’re looking forward to testing the Audi next week at Monza in readiness for the Le Mans Cup.”
The team now regroup and continue preparations for British GT, Le Mans Cup and 12H Red Bull Ring.