Title battle on: Optimum Motorsport seek strong British GT Snetterton showing
While still seeking that elusive victory this year in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship, Optimum Motorsport has been racking up the points in the Silver Cup standings. Ahead of the doubleheader this coming weekend, (3-4 October) the team are fifth with 93 points.
Having completed every race in the points, the #96 duo of Ollie Wilkinson and Lewis Proctor remain firmly in the title hunt, with 50 crucial points available from the two 60-minute races on Sunday.
Ollie, meanwhile, has been busy testing with the team in preparation for the 24 Hours of Spa, completing two days of running this week with GT World Challenge Europe teammates Joe Osborne and Rob Bell. The official test saw Optimum complete the programme in tricky wet conditions, something that is more than likely to greet the team at the Belgian venue next month.
The return to the British GT Championship at Snetterton this weekend is equally expected to bring cold and damp conditions, especially on Saturday, for practice and qualifying. Sunday’s first race gets underway at 10.15 BST and race two at 15.10.
Shaun Goff, Optimum Motorsport Team Principal
Firstly, how did the official test for the Spa 24 go this week with the GTWC drivers?
“The conditions were challenging for the team and drivers with a damp to wet track for much of the test. Crucially though, we were able to run through a lot of procedural aspects required for our first Spa 24. There are certain protocols to be simulated, such as the night running endurance lighting, so we worked through the programme and ticked a lot of boxes to help us prepare for the event. The wet running could well be carried over into the race itself, so all-in-all it has been positive.”
There are three races remaining in the British GT Championship, two this weekend at Snetterton and then on to Silverstone. You are fifth in the Silver Cup and very much in the title battle, what are the expectations for the weekend?
“We head into every race weekend very much focused on extracting the maximum from the McLaren package as well as our two drivers. The aim is always to win and with no success penalty applicable at Snetterton, that is the objective. We need to maximise our chances in qualifying, in particular, and if we do that, we’re comfortable with our race performance.”
It is the first year with the McLaren 720S GT3 for the team and your field entries in three differing championships; how has this helped in terms of speeding up the learning process?
“By competing in the British GT Championship, GT World Challenge and International GT Open, we are fortunate in that we have been able to put in plenty of mileage in the McLaren. We have learned a great deal about the car – the strengths and weaknesses of the package – and we continue to push hard to explore the maximum the package can offer us in terms of performance. There are always aspects that can be explored further, but it’s been a very positive season for us, we continue to make tweaks to maximise and push our base performance and our understanding of the car.”