Rising sportscar star Ollie Wilkinson has been selected to join this year’s Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy, putting him in with a chance of landing a full junior factory driver contract for the 2020 season.
The recognition from Aston Martin Racing represents the latest milestone for Wilkinson’s sensational young motorsport career, given that he only began his first full season of racing in 2017. Since starting out in Ginettas, the 22-year-old Yorkshireman has risen to become a GT3 race winner and this year will tackle a dual programme in the International GT Open and British GT championships aboard an Optimum Motorsport-run new Aston Martin Vantage GT3. He will continue to race alongside seasoned GT racer Bradley Ellis.
The Aston Martin Driver Academy last ran in 2015, when it unearthed Ross Gunn as the British manufacturer’s latest addition to its factory driver roster. For this year Wilkinson is one of the 23 selected to be mentored and evaluated across the course of his season, racing with Aston Martin on both the domestic and European stages.
Aston Martin provides the Academy drivers with dedicated on-track training and fitness programmes, together with mentoring from the current roster of AMR factory drivers.
At the end of the season a panel of Aston Martin drivers and high-ranking team members will decide which single candidate will be offered a junior factory driver contract for 2020. The panel will look for a range of qualities in the successful candidate, with speed being just one. Aside from pace alone, each driver’s ability to work with engineers, capabilities in a simulator and ability to market themselves will also be taken into account.
Wilkinson said he was honoured to be selected for the programme, and was ready to give his all during his first season of racing as an AMR Academy driver to make the most of the prestigious opportunity.
“To have been asked to join the Academy of such an iconic brand as Aston Martin is a privilege and something that was unimaginable for me when I started my first full season of racing in 2017,” said the My Possible Self backed driver.
“I look forward to representing the marque to the upmost in both the International GT Open and British GT championships with the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3. I absolutely love the car, it’s awesome. I cannot wait to get started. This opportunity, along with the training and support provided by Aston Martin, will help me to develop tools and skills that I will use for the rest of my life.”
Ollie Wilkinson’s season gets underway at Oulton Park with the opening rounds of the British GT Championship over the Easter weekend of April 20-22. From there he heads to the world-famous Circuit Paul Ricard in France for the first event of the International GT Open on April 27/28.
Photo credit: Gary Parravani Xynamic