Optimum shine with Pro-Am runner-up spot in GT Open
Optimum Motorsport joined the International GT Open for the final round of the championship in Barcelona at the weekend (28 – 29 October) and came away with a fine second position in the Pro-Am class with Bradley Ellis and Ollie Wilkinson at the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS.
“It was a great experience for team and drivers,” said team principal Shaun Goff. “We were under no illusion that it was an easy championship to enter and do well in, but to finish off P2 was really encouraging. Credit to GT Open, they have done really well with this championship and we hope to be back next year.”
Wilkinson competed in the Ginetta GT5 championship this year before stepping up to compete in the 24H Series at Portimao in a Ginetta G55, while Ellis is an experienced hand, having won the British GT championship and raced with success in numerous other categories.
Ellis, qualified the #96 Audi for the first race, lining up in seventh in class. After a clean start, Ellis made further gain to run 13th before handing over to Wilkinson. The young British racer steered clear of trouble and brought the car home seventh in class.
Better was to come in the second race with Wilkinson lining up 15th overall and made a great getaway at the green light to move 13th behind Thomas Biagi, fifth in class. Following a full course yellow the race settled into a rhythm with Wilkinson keeping Pro-car ahead within his sites before handing over to Ellis when the pit stop window opened.
Ellis resumed, quickly picking up 11th place and closed on the Pro-Am #10 car ahead of Jordon Witt. The duo raced in tandem, with less than a second separating them, moving further up the order. The move for position came on the very final lap, but Ellis was later given a five second time penalty for contact dropping him back behind Witt in what was still a fine second place in Pro-Am.
"Wow what a weekend... The result comes from a year of hard work from Ollie," said Ellis. "Ollie has been preparing for this step into GT3 all year and he was able to hold his own against some of the world's top sports car drivers. Optimum put together a fantastic team in such a short time as we only chose to do the race 14 days before!"
Wilkinson was equally pleased with his first race in the series. “It's was a really tough but enjoyable first event in GT Open, it’s given us the appetite and who knows... we could be back for more next year…”
The next challenge for Optimum Motorsport will be the 24H Dubai which takes place in January.