Rising sportscar star Ollie Wilkinson heads into the biggest race of the British GT Championship season at Silverstone next weekend, 8-9 June, aiming to draw on his past success at the home of the British Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be back aboard his Optimum Motorsport-run Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 alongside team-mate Bradley Ellis for the annual Silverstone 500 event – a three-hour thrash around the 3.2-mile Northamptonshire circuit.
Wilkinson – a member of the Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy – heads into the seasonal endurance showpiece in a strong position in the championship. He and Ellis sit fourth overall in the drivers’ standings ahead of the first double-points outing of the year, and the pair know that a strong weekend could easily elevate them closer to the summit.
Wilkinson and Ellis have already impressed during the two British GT rounds so far, becoming the first Silver Cup pairing to secure an outright podium spot in the championship since 2017 when they took a third-place finish at Oulton Park at Easter. It also recorded the first podium for the all-new V8 Vantage GT3. A third Silver Cup victory of the year during round four at Snetterton also ensured that they lead the class title chase.
The duo also has a strong record at Silverstone, having recorded a class victory in the International GT Open round at the circuit last season in an Audi R8 LMS. The team’s decision to contest the British GT Championship event does mean Wilkinson will skip the International GT Open round at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, in order to prioritise his attack on domestic championship honours.
“It’s great to now be heading to Silverstone and committing to a full-season British GT campaign,” says Wilkinson. “The Silverstone 500 is a big event and the longer, three-hour race will be a new challenge for us but I’m looking forward to it. Brad and I won the GT Open Pro-Am class at Silverstone last year, we’ve not had much running there in the Aston Martin so Friday practice will be key to get a good feel for where we are.
“Our progress and development is really encouraging and the results are starting to come. Missing out on a podium at Snetterton was disappointing, we’re eager to claim one back, but taking another clean points haul is the most important thing.”
Ellis, a British GT class winner in GT4 in 2014, added: “We came so close to another podium last time out at Snetterton and we’re confident we come into the biggest race on the British GT calendar on strong form. We’re not sure how the Silver-Silver cars will fare in the longer race, I’m hoping it will be beneficial. Optimum Motorsport are doing a superb job and we’re coming on leaps and bounds. We know we’ve got outright podium potential and just need to deliver another faultless performance.”
The three-hour British GT Championship Silverstone 500 event will be streamed live via the championship’s official website, YouTube and social media channels. Live timing will be available via www.tsl-timing.com.
After two hour-long free practice sessions on Saturday morning, qualifying is scheduled for 15.40, with the race set to start at 12.35 on Sunday.
Photo credit: Gary Parravani / Xynamic