Strong GT3 Le Mans Cup debut for Optimum
Flick Haigh and Joe Osborne paired up for the first time in this series, with the former qualifying the V10-powered car in eighth position in the Superpole shootout.
Haigh, who today became the first female to compete in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, just wasn’t quite able to get the best from the tyres in what was a disjointed session courtesy of a red flag.
Haigh took the first stint at a venue she is very familiar with, having raced with the team already this year in the 24H Series, running ninth in the early stages and then taking advantage of incidents and accidents to run sixth with 40 minutes complete and lapping at a similar pace to her rivals before handing over to Joe Osborne at the half-distance mark.
Osborne, the more experienced sprint racer, picked up the pace and with and with 80 minutes complete found himself up to fifth position, fending off the #66 Lamborghini from behind and pushing to challenge #8 Ferrari ahead. Persistence paid dividends with Osborne snatching fourth position on the penultimate lap of the two-hour sprint and securing a solid debut result for the team.
“We thought the top five was possible given our race pace from eighth on the grid,” said Optimum Motorsport Team Principal, Shaun Goff. “We can’t expect to turn up here and just run at the front, so anything in the top five is a good result and fourth is better, especially as we also lost 20 seconds thanks to contact with another car.
“We still have areas where we can improve such as in the pit stops and we need to look at what others are doing in terms of ultimate race pace. We’re happy with the result, but you always find areas where you know you can make gains.”
The next round of the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup takes place at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium on 23-24 September, 2016.