Optimum returns to the Oulton Park podium as the British GT season gets underway
Optimum Motorsport, along with the rest of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship field, were forced to wait longer than hoped to get the race season underway today at Oulton Park, but the patience was well-worth the wait as the #96 McLaren 720S Silver pairing of Ollie Wilkinson and Lewis Proctor returned to the podium in style.
Following the fine second place in round one, this was further backed up with a strong second race, yielding a fifth position overall result.
Lewis made an impressive start to his GT3 career with Optimum Motorsport, claiming the overall pole position for the first round of the championship. With the field so tightly packed in terms of lap time, his fourth flying lap netted him the pole by 0.001s from Jordan Witt in the #10 McLaren.
His impressive form continued into his first stint of the one-hour opening race of the year, controlling the pace at the front of the field in style, despite pressure from two sister McLaren 720S close behind.
Having encountered heavy traffic and seen his two-second advantage whittled away, the Optimum Motorsport crew opted to box him at the earliest point in the pitstop window, handing over to teammate Ollie.
The #10 McLaren stayed out for an additional two tours of the circuit, exiting the pits just ahead of Ollie. However, their stop soon picked up a stop-go penalty, dropping the car from the lead battle. Back on track, the #2 McLaren nipped through as Ollie was forced to straight-line the chicane. The battle continued, but the status quo remained to the chequered flag.
Second position in the opening round was a strong result for the team as they eye both the overall GT3 championship as well as the Silver Cup. Lining up third in class and sixth overall for the second race, Ollie ran fourth in class for much of his stint only for a long safety car to curtail chances of further progress.
The team served the additional seven seconds of success penalty, and this, combined with the yellows to the flag. denied any real opportunity of Lewis making up ground as a Silver racer against some of the Bronze drivers ahead. As a result, the second race saw Optimum Motorsport take the chequered flag in fifth position overall in the classification, fourth in class.
“Our first British GT podium in the McLaren and a top six finish isn’t a bad way to start our first race weekend together. Lewis did a cracking job all weekend and together we showed the pace that we’re yet to fully untap.
“I was forced wide at the chicane in race one and without that we could have taken the lead, and we had more to do in race two, but with a lot of incidents out there today – as the lengthy safety car periods proved – we’ve got to be happy with the points haul.”
“I’m happy to have led my whole stint in my first GT3 race, keeping at bay some more experienced lads behind. It was great that we finished on the podium and to draw a positive from the P2 result.”
Shaun Goff, Team Principal
“The first race was very impressive in terms of results and it’s great to get back on the British GT podium. It has been a successful and solid race weekend. The second race was a bit unfortunate in that we didn’t really get to run Lewis up against some of the amateur drivers, but we did manage a good number of championship points.
“The team did a great job and we have gained a lot from this weekend and will move on stronger to Donington Park.”