Optimum Motorsport wanting "the stars to align" in Bank Holiday outing at Oulton Park
Optimum Motorsport feels the forthcoming Pirelli British GT Championship round at Oulton Park represents a fantastic opportunity to score well in the headlining GT3 division and reaffirm its status as a title challenger in GT4 (28-30 May).
The team has been campaigning for a positive shift in the British GT Championship’s Balance of Performance (BoP) since the start of the season.Its Audi R8 LMS was among the slowest through Brands Hatch’s speed traps and on Rockingham’s banking, but a reduction in weight suggests the balance might tip in Optimum Motorsport’s favour at Oulton Park.
A points finish was well received three weeks ago at Rockingham and to breach the top five in GT3 would make for a successful outing in the Cheshire countryside, and a hugely positive in-season test for Optimum Motorsport and its drivers, Ryan Ratcliffe and Will Moore, bodes very well for Monday’s two one-hour races.
“It’s nice to see that the British GT Championship organisers are being proactive and listening to teams and drivers when it comes to Balance of Performance and I hope we will be in a good place at Oulton Park,” said Ratcliffe. “The team has been pushing so hard for a change after struggling so badly for speed, but we came away from Rockingham with a solid haul of points and I’m expecting to build on that with a decent weekend at Oulton Park.
“We had a very good test at the circuit last weekend. Will (Moore) is confident in the car and seems to understand what driving an aero-dependant car is all about. There’s a lot of pressure on me as the “Pro” in the car, but it’s nice to work with somebody and see their progress. My aim was to be as quick as the other Pros and I’m hoping for an error-free qualifying so I can learn where I stand in the food chain. If we qualify in the top five, we’ll be there in the hunt for points or even the podium in the races.”
It's hoped that the stars will align for Optimum Motorsport’s GT4 pairing, Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson, too.
The teammates sent a strong message to their class rivals when they drove to a convincing victory in the opening round of the season at Brands Hatch and translated that innate speed into a dominant pole at Rockingham, but the Professional Motorsport World Expo Ginetta G55 was side-lined in an unfortunate collision while on course for victory at ‘The Rock’ and there is a keen desire to make amends.
Johnson said: “The first plan is to not hit any GT3 cars! It’s a team effort, but I take full blame for the incident and I genuinely feel like I owe Optimum Motorsport a result. I’d like to make up for it sooner rather than later and my first objective will be to deliver a pole position and then lead from the front in race one.
“Everybody knows we have a fast car and Mike (Robinson) and I are the fastest GT4 pairing on the grid and Oulton Park will be about cementing our championship position. We won the first race at Oulton Park last year and came through to second in race two while carrying ballast, but history teaches you that anything can and will happen!”
Optimum Motorsport Team Principal, Shaun Goff, said: “Finishing in the top five is always the minimum goal of the weekend and I feel this is more than achievable after showing good pace against other cars in a recent test. There has been a big change in the championship’s Balance of Performance, as weight has been added to some cars to slow them down and we’ve been able to take a little weight out of the Audi. Hopefully this should even things up more. In GT4, we need to bounce back from a disappointing finish to the last round at Rockingham with a win and, as we have no time success penalty to worry about, this should be realistic.”