Ollie Wilkinson heads into the final round of this year’s British GT Championship at Donington Park this weekend (14-15 September) as a key player in a five-way fight for the title.
After what has been a stellar maiden season in Europe’s most competitive domestic GT championship, Wilkinson and team-mate Bradley Ellis head into the ninth, and final, race of the season sitting fourth in the points, and still in with a shot at the overall championship crown.
Yorkshireman Wilkinson and former British GT Champion Ellis have repeatedly marked themselves out as ones to watch this year at the wheel of their Optimum Motorsport-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Wilkinson’s talent was perhaps best displayed when he dominated the championship’s European round at Spa-Francorchamps, building a substantial gap during the opening stint to set Ellis up to control the second half and secure the duo’s maiden British GT victory. The result also helped set the pair up to seal the Silver Cup class championship for 2019 the following round.
However, after a difficult last event at Brands Hatch, Wilkinson and Ellis are 33.5 points off the overall summit, with 37.5 on offer for the win in the two-hour Donington event. While their chances of an outright championship victory may hinge on a dose of bad luck for their rivals, Wilkinson and Ellis are just 22 points outside the top three, meaning it’s still wide open in the battle for a championship podium spot.
Wilkinson, who will carry the prestigious logo of the British Racing Drivers’ Club for the first time at a British GT event this weekend, having recently been hand-picked for its BRDC Rising Star programme, says: “To be going into the season finale with a chance of winning the title is not something we’d ever imagined possible when we started our first year in the series with a new car.
“Brands wasn’t the best weekend for us, which was a shame as we could have done with the points, but we’ve learnt where we went wrong. We’ve had good pace all year and Donington Park is a special circuit for me, it’s where I started racing three years ago so to take a title there would be amazing. The pressure for the title isn’t on us, it’s ours to win, not to lose. We have already achieved our goal for this year, to win the Silver Cup. Anything else is a bonus.”
Ellis added: “We know we need to win at Donington to have a shot at the title, but it really depends on how everyone else’s weekend goes – what will be will be! It’s theirs to lose and we’ll be waiting. It’s mathematically possible for us to do it, but we are the outsiders. We were in a podium position at Donington Park in the summer before our race was called short, so there’s some unfinished business for us there. Since then we’ve proved we can win outright, so we hope to be in a similar situation and finish on a high.”
Qualifying for the British GT Championship at Donington Park takes place at 16:35 on Saturday, September 14, before the two-hour season finale gets underway at 13:15 on Sunday. The race will be streamed live via the British GT website, and live timing will be available all weekend via TSL-timing.com.
Photo credit: Gary Parravani