Ollie Wilkinson heads to the second round of his debut British GT Championship campaign at Snetterton, 18-19 May, aiming for a repeat of his and teammate Bradley Ellis’ season-opening outright podium performance at Oulton Park last month.
The Optimum Motorsport duo started their 2019 attack by recording the first UK podium for the all-new Aston Martin V8 Vantage, finishing third in the first race of the season. Series newcomer Wilkinson and former champion Ellis followed that with a top six finish in race two, to lie fourth in the outright standings and lead the Silver Cup with two class victories.
For 22 year-old Wilkinson, who embarks on his third season of racing in 2019, round two will mark only his second outing at Snetterton, having contested a one-off round of the Radical SR1 Cup last May.
Fast forward 12 months and Ollie has the benefit of one short test in the My Possible Self- supported Aston Martin V8 Vantage at the challenging Norfolk circuit under his belt. But with positive gains made in every track session in the new Optimum-run machine, Wilkinson and Ellis are intent on building on their early season success.
Wilkinson, who was recently selected to join this year’s Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy, comments: “Tackling a new car and a new championship was quite a learning curve at Oulton Park, but to get an outright podium on the Aston Martin V8 Vantage’s UK debut has given us a good confidence boost heading into round two.
“We’re making really solid progress, building our understanding and performance with every outing. I’ve only raced at Snetterton once before, so my biggest challenge will be learning the circuit in the new car. Everyone at Optimum is doing a fantastic job and we’ll be carrying everything we’ve learned so far into the second round battles hopeful of a repeat podium performance.”
A multiple British GT race-winner at Snetterton across both GT3 and GT4 classes, Ellis adds: “An outright podium in the first race of the season was beyond our expectations, particularly after a tricky initial qualifying session. We bounced back from that and a faultless team effort gave us a healthy points haul.
“We know there’s more performance to come, we’re making great strides in understanding the car and how we can get more out of ourselves. Consistency will be key, it’s going to be about making the best out of the more difficult races and less successful weekends to keep scoring. Another podium at Snetterton would be nice, otherwise we’ll be aiming for some more solid points in the bag.”
Qualifying for the second round of the British GT Championship will take place from 15.50 on Saturday 18 May, ahead of two one-hour races at 11.10 and 15.25 on Sunday. Catch all the action live via https://www.britishgt.com/live or the British GT Facebook page.
Photo credit: Xynamic / Gary Parravani