Optimum Motorsport to mix it at the sharp end in British GT flyaway at Spa
Optimum Motorsport senses an opportunity to mix it with the GT3 frontrunners and reinforce its GT4 points lead during the Pirelli British GT Championship's annual cross-Channel trip to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (8-9 July).
Will Moore and Ryan Ratcliffe slipped and slid to a season's best fifth place in the British GT Championship's blue riband Silverstone 500 event last month, shrewd strategic decisions ensuring the Silver-graded pairing remained in the fight for an outright podium finish until the final lap of the three-hour contest.
Optimum may not be in the hunt for the outright British GT title, but the team believes it can capitalise on pit stop penalties for its GT3 opponents and lessons learned during a productive day of testing on the 7km, 20-turn Spa circuit.And with Spa proving a happy hunting ground for Audis in other high-profile GT championships, it is thought that Ratcliffe and Moore can get in among the frontrunners once again.
For Optimum Motorsport's British GT4 championship leaders Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson, the chief aim will be to put their title bid back on track at Spa, after a pair of DNFs in the previous two races at Rockingham and Silverstone significantly reduced their points lead over the Beechdean Aston Martin of Jack Bartholemew and Jordan Albert.
Again, pit stop penalties are likely to have a bearing on the outcome of the two-hour race through the Ardennes Forest; the Beechdean AMR team will be stationary for ten seconds longer than their Ginetta rivals, but the 15-strong British GT4 grid will once again be joined by contenders from the European GT4 scene, creating a lot more uncertainty.
Optimum Motorsport Team Principal, Shaun Goff, said: "Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps isn't on the doorstep so you don't find yourself there on a frequent basis, but we have tested there and my expectations are high. The weather can play a big part in the results, but all of our drivers acquitted themselves well in the treacherous conditions we experienced at Silverstone and are ready for whatever is thrown at them.
"The Audis have always shown well at Spa and that was the case in testing so we should be in good shape for a top five finish this weekend, but there will be added pressure in GT4 with a larger than average grid and the potential for more drama. I'd be happy if we finished with a brace of points scores without any problems."