Top 10 finish for Optimum’s Ginetta GT3 at Rockingham
George Murrells and Ginetta development driver Mike Simpson secured a 10th place finish at Rockingham in round 5 of the British GT Championship on Sunday.
The result sees Optimum take their first British GT championship points and is also the first top 10 finish for Ginetta’s new G55 GT3 car.
Hopes were high coming in to the weekend with the pace of the car greatly improved since its last outing at the Nurburgring. Qualifying only heightened expectations with Simpson securing 12th with a lap time of 1.24.708, 1.3 seconds off pole which was set by Stephen Jelley in the Porsche 997 GT3 and with the Optimum car more competitive in race set up and the Murrells – Simpson driver pairing, a solid result looked on the cards as Murrells lined up on the grid.
Unfortunately only minutes in to the race the gear stick fractured forcing Murrells to limp round to the pits stuck in third gear. The fix was to clamp mole grips to the end of the lever a truly inspired solution which enabled Murrells to rejoin the race albeit over two laps down in 26th place.
Both drivers worked tirelessly to recover the situation, Murrells handing over to Simpson on the hour in 16th position with Simpson continuing the charge taking over 10th in the final 20 minutes or so of the race which he held to the chequered flag.
“This is our first year in the British GT Championship and to take a point’s scoring finish in only our third race is a fantastic achievement for the team,” said Team Principal Shaun Goff. “We have made real progress over the last few months with the car and with the upgrades scheduled over the coming weeks expect to be a step closer again come the Snetterton round at the start of August."
Optimum travel to Brands Hatch in two weeks time for the next round of the Championship on the famous Grand Prix circuit.