Ollie Wilkinson can tick off another item on his bucket list come 5th-6th September, as the McLaren Professional Driver takes on the Nürburgring in Germany for the first time, in the second round of the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup.
Embarking on what is only the fourth season of his short career, the 24-year-old is yet to have had the thrill of competing on one of motor racing’s most hallowed and challenging circuits. He gets the chance to do just that as part of his debut GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup campaign, at the wheel of the Y.Co – The Yacht Company-backed McLaren 720S GT3.
Wilkinson and Optimum Motorsport team-mates, McLaren Factory Drivers Joe Osborne and Rob Bell, got the season off to a superb start in the first outing of the year at Imola last month. Climbing from 22nd on the grid to finish eighth overall, the trio overcame a tricky qualifying to notch up the first points of 2020.
Since that first foray of the delayed season, Wilkinson has been busy beginning his British GT Silver Cup title defence at home in the UK, where he and team-mate Lewis Proctor have already earned an outright podium and a brace of second-place Silver Cup results.
Fully intent on adding to his Endurance Cup points haul and eighth in the early title table, Wilkinson is confident he can quickly get on terms with the 5.1km Nürburgring circuit ahead of Sunday’s six-hour endurance race – the longest of the year so far. He’s in good company too, with Bell – a former series champion and Nürburgring race winner – and Osborne, a multiple race victor for McLaren, for company.
“The Nürburgring has always been a circuit I’ve wanted to race on, it’s iconic, so I’m really looking forward to my debut in the McLaren,” says Ollie. “Being a six-hour race, it’s our longest of the year so far and great preparation for the next round, the Spa 24 Hours, which I’ll tackle for the first time in October.
“It’s a completely new track for all of us in the 720S GT3, but I’m confident the car will suit the circuit well. For me, the biggest challenge is adapting to the incredibly fierce level of competition in the series. As I found out at Imola, it’s a league above the three years’ of racing I’ve done so far, but I’m relishing the experience.”
Round two of the 2020 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup will begin with pre-qualifying at 13.35 (local time) on Saturday 5th September, ahead of qualifying at 19:10. The six-hour showdown at the Nürburgring will start at 11:45 on Sunday, aired live via the series website gt-world-challenge-europe.com/watch-live
Photo credit: Gary Parravani