The young racing career of Ollie Wilkinson gained yet another high-profile accolade with the news that the Yorkshireman has been chosen to become a member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Stars programme.
Having been spotted by the BRDC’s scouts across the course of this season, Wilkinson has been chosen to join the programme, which grants junior membership to the world’s most prestigious private racing organisation. Wilkinson will carry the BRDC Rising Star logo on his car and race suit and will compete with the endorsement of the Club.
The recognition from BRDC comes off the back of a stellar few months for the 23-year-old from Leeds, who has marked himself out as a title contender in two leading European sportscar classes, despite this being only his third season of competition behind the wheel.
Racing with Optimum Motorsport in a new Aston Martin Vantage GT3, Wilkinson began his summer in style by winning the milestone 200th International GT Open race alongside Aston Martin factory driver Jonny Adam at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. That result came soon after Wilkinson was upgraded from an amateur to a professional-grade driver within the series, on account of his rapid progression since joining the championship in 2018.
Just a few weeks later, and Wilkinson made his mark on the international stage yet again, by dominating the British GT Championship’s European event at Spa-Francorchamps alongside long-term team-mate Bradley Ellis. The win has put both Wilkinson and Ellis firmly in the fight for a top-three finish in Europe’s strongest domestic GT championship.
This season is also not the first to really show Wilkinson’s potential behind the wheel. Having only started racing in 2017, he was a seven-time podium finisher in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge during his maiden campaign, and last year became a GT3 race winner in both the GT Cup and International GT Open with an Optimum Motorsport-run Audi R8 LMS.
The move across to Aston Martin’s new Vantage GT3 for this year has been hugely successful and has also led to Wilkinson being made a member of the British manufacturer’s Racing Driver Academy scheme.
Becoming a BRDC Rising Star is the latest accolade for Wilkinson, who says that the recognition marks an incredibly proud moment in his so far short career.
“I’m absolutely overjoyed to join the BRDC’s Rising Stars programme, in truth I never thought something like this would happen so soon after I started competing,” said Wilkinson. “I’ve had an amazing few years, and in the last couple of months things have really come together for me – with the wins at the Red Bull Ring and Spa-Francorchamps being simply amazing moments. I have to thank drivers like Bradley Ellis, Jonny Adam and Darren Turner, and also the team at Optimum for helping me achieve great things so far.
“I know all about the BRDC, and have always wanted to become a member, so being selected as a Rising Star is just the perfect cap to my summer. It’s still pretty surreal considering I haven’t been racing for that long. But I still have a few rounds left this year – including the final race of the British GT Championship at Donington Park – so hopefully this will be a nice boost to help me end my season on a high and get planning for next year.”
Ollie will compete at Silverstone, the home of the BRDC, this weekend (7-8 September) for the only UK round of the GT Open series.
For more information about the BRDC, and its Rising Stars programme, see BRDC.co.uk.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey