Upcoming sportscar ace Ollie Wilkinson will return to International GT Open with Optimum Motorsport this year, mounting a full season campaign in the all-new My Possible Self sponsored Aston Martin Vantage GT3 alongside experienced sportscar champion Bradley Ellis.
The young Yorkshireman, who only began racing in 2017, tackled the premier European series with the support of Ellis for the first time last year, recording notable success during his debut season in GT3 racing.
Wilkinson rapidly rose to the task of learning Europe’s top tracks whilst acclimatising to the Audi R8 LMS, helping the pairing prove their international potential with two Pro-Am wins, plus second and third-place podiums, to finish fourth in the category title fight despite not contesting every round.
In addition to GT Open class honours at Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone, a further clean sweep of pole-to-flag GT Cup victories at the iconic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit further underlined Wilkinson’s calibre in only his second term of racing.
Armed with brand-new machinery for 2019 in the form of the stunning Aston Martin Vantage GT3, the 22-year-old is aiming to raise the bar even higher, with outright race victories and championship spoils firmly in his sights.
Ollie continues his dream journey to a professional sportscar racing career with the invaluable backing of My Possible Self – the mental health app that uses clinically proven content to reduce symptoms of low mood, anxiety and stress in eight weeks.
Ollie Wilkinson: “I’m delighted to be heading back to the International GT Open this year. I had a fantastic debut season, teaming with Brad for the first time. Our two class wins could have easily been four if not for some bad luck at Estoril and Monza, but I’ve got a lot of valuable experience to bring into our first full season and we should be strong from the outset.
“For a start, I’ll have the benefit of knowing the majority of circuits this year, although we didn’t do Paul Ricard last year and Hockenheim and the Red Bull Ring are new for 2019. One huge difference will be switching from the Audi R8 LMS to the Aston Martin Vantage GT3. I’ve only had a couple of laps in the car so far, but having raced the all-new GT4 in Abu Dhabi – helping to take class pole on the car’s racing debut – I can’t wait to get to grips with the GT3.
“Pre-season testing will be vital but I’ve no doubt Optimum Motorsport will do an amazing job once again, while Brad and I are getting stronger and stronger as a pairing. Our biggest challenge will be to keep raising our game amid such a high level of competition. It’s going to be an intense year, but I can’t wait to get started.”
Bradley Ellis: “It’s fantastic to commit to a full season in GT Open with Ollie and Optimum. Ollie delivered a strong debut GT3 season, we were competitive from the first round but we had some challenges and our fair shair of rotten luck. Contesting every round will give us the opportunity to eradicate some of those issues and really work on podium consistency to increase our title chances, rather than playing catch-up with missed rounds.
“We’ve got another new learning curve with the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and racking up the mileage at the two pre-season tests will be key. How we end up in terms of BOP is the big unknown for us, but I’ve no doubt that the team and organisers will work hard to get that right from the start.
“We’re planning to pick up where we left off, taking class wins and aiming for championship top three. With half a grid of top pro cars, outright wins will be a big ask, but not impossible if we raise our consistency, but our main focus is the Pro-Am title.”
Shaun Goff, Optimum Motorsport Team Principal: “Retaining Ollie and Brad was something we were all really keen on, to return to the GT Open championship with the same pairing, and now with Aston Martin’s latest generation GT3 car. We believe we have what’s required to claim the Pro-Am title and look to push for overall results.”
2019 International GT Open Calendar
Round 1 – 27-28 April – Paul Ricard, France
Round 2 – 25-26 May – Hockenheim, Germany
Round 3 – 8-9 June – Spa Francorchamps, Belgium
Round 4 – 13-14 July – Red Bull Ring, Austria
Round 5 – 7-8 September – Silverstone, UK
Round 6 – 21-22 September – Barcelona, Spain
Round 7 – 12-13 October – Monza, Italy
Photo credit: Hype Creative