Optimum seek further gains as GTWC Europe resumes at the Nürburgring
Having shown good pace and secured a top ten result on its debut in the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS at Imola, Optimum Motorsport is set for the second round of the championship this coming weekend (September 5-6) at Nürburgring, Germany.
In what is arguably one of the toughest GT3 championships in the world, the team saw substantial gains during Imola’s three-hour race, from 22nd on the grid to secure eighth position and with that, four valuable championship points.
The team competes in the Pro-class of the championship with Ollie Wilkinson, Rob Bell and Joe Osborne racing the #69 Y-CO branded McLaren 720S GT3. With an impressive grid featuring 23 Pro-entries as well as 25 further class contenders, the team know that Sunday’s six-hour race will be quite a challenge, but should they find the expected gains in qualifying, a top five result is the aim.
The event is also the perfect opportunity for the Optimum crew to prepare for the biggest challenge of the season, the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa which takes place next month. Unofficial testing takes place Thursday while Friday is given over to scrutineering. Official free practice begins Saturday with qualifying from 19.10 local time. Sunday’s race gets underway at 11.45.
Bas Leinders, Optimum Motorsport Team Manager
“We tested at the circuit in June, so it’s not an unknown event for us. Looking back at the last race at Imola, we could have - and should have - performed a little bit better in qualifying. I think that was possible, as we didn’t quite get it all together.
“The race was steady, we made fewer mistakes than some of our rivals and that’s how we came up the order to finish in the points. Our pitstops didn’t go perfectly either, so we can only be happy with the result there.
“The key for us at Nürburgring will be in qualifying, we should be in the top 15 and that will give us a chance to finish in the top five; that has to be our aim for the six-hour race. Being a longer endurance race, there are more options in terms of strategy and that will be a factor in the overall result. The rules are a bit different to previous years with timed fuelling and free tyre changes.
“One interesting area is if you go below a timed fuel stop – ten seconds – then that stop is free, so it will be interesting to see if that brings us anything at certain points of the race. So, overall, strategy-wise, both in Germany and at Spa, this could be quite interesting.”