Strong weekend from Optimum Motorsport at Silverstone 500
With an all-new look this weekend (10-11 June, 2017) at the British GT Championship at Silverstone, Optimum Motorsport made tremendous progress throughout the two days, culminating in a third position finish in the Pro-Am GT4 category for race regulars Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson.
Reining GT4 champions Johnson and Robinson opted to make the switch from the familiar Ginetta G55 to the brand-new McLaren 570S GT4 ahead of the race weekend and in what was always going to be a steep learning curve for the PMW Expo duo, the fine third position can only be deemed a major success.
Qualifying for the #501 team was admittedly a struggle, but a late night from the Optimum Motorsport crew saw the car transformed for the all-important Sunday morning warmup session. Johnson took the first stint of the three-hour race, picking up his pace throughout and lapping on the pace of those around him.
“We have to be happy with that as we’re effectively testing in a live environment,” Johnson said. “It’s the most laps I have done in the car in one go and that’s why I was able to push on and get used to the car. We’ll be testing plenty ahead of the next round, but today was all about getting to grips with the new McLaren.”
The race unfolded with Robinson moving up through the GT4 field and were it not for a late race stop with less than 15 minutes remaining, the duo could have secured a class victory.
“We’re really happy with the result,” said Team Principal Shaun Goff. “We were off the pace in qualifying and started pretty much at the back of the field. Graham and Mike both drove a great race and with so little running in the new car, we can only treat this almost like a win.”
Optimum Motorsport also fielded a second entry at Silverstone, with Ade Barwick and Bradley Ellis teaming up in the beautifully liveried #46 Ginetta G55 GT4. Barwick took the wheel at the start, maintaining position despite intense pressure from behind before handing over to Ellis.
“We made a good start but by lap four or five the rear end of the car started to lose grip and I was therefore struggling to hit the target lap time,” said Barwick. “Then the GT3 cars came through and I lost perhaps a second or two that I shouldn’t have done, so not the best stint, let’s see what Brad can do!”
Ellis picked up the pace when he took over the #46 Ginetta, running a clean race with Barwick the chequered flag in fourth position in GT4 Pro-Am.The team now head to Circuit de la Sarthe to compete in the Road to Le Mans with Flick Haigh and Joe Osborne. The two races take place Thursday 15th June and Saturday 17th.