Ollie Wilkinson, a young Yorkshireman racing with a top Yorkshire motorsport team and backed by two leading Yorkshire companies, will continue his first full season of motorsport competition this weekend as the Ginetta GT5 Challenge heads to Rockingham, Northamptonshire, on the British GT support bill.
The 20-year-old from Leeds heads to the Northamptonshire circuit for only his second race event of the year following an outstanding season debut at Oulton Park, Cheshire, two weeks ago. Driving with reigning British GT4 championship-winning team, Optimum Motorsport, Wilkinson stunned the opposition by setting a dominant first career pole position, heading the field by some 1.1 seconds in only his second race qualifying attempt.
The racing rookie turned his qualifying form into a pair of strong fifth place finishes to lie fourth in the title standings, among a 26-strong grid of vastly more experienced drivers. Prior to Oulton Park, Ollie had just one notable race performance under his belt, his outright racing debut last September at Donington Park.
Although facing a steep learning curve in his first full season, Ollie is taking everything in his stride; getting to grips with the 160bhp Ginetta G40 and learning each of the top UK circuits while honing vital racecraft skills.
With the invaluable backing of Harrogate-based sponsors, IntechnologyWiFi and My Possible Self, Wilkinson heads to Rockingham having completed some valuable test and track days to learn the challenging 1.94-mile International Sports Car Circuit. With round three of the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge cancelled at Oulton Park due to timetable restrictions, Ollie faces a demanding racing schedule with qualifying and four races this weekend.
Wilkinson commented: “With a convincing pole position and two fifth places, Oulton Park was the dream start to my motor racing career and a huge confidence boost. Prior to the first rounds, I had no idea how I’d shape up against my rivals and it’s encouraging to see our outright pace is strong. This is my foundation year so I’m learning and developing my racecraft with every racing lap, but I’ll been trying hard and hoping for some more top six results at Rockingham this weekend.”
Widely regarded as the breeding ground for future professional and aspiring GT racers, the Ginetta GT5 Challenge supports five rounds of the prestigious British GT Championship, plus two events as part of the British Touring Car Championship package. The series will provide Ollie with a solid grounding on which to build his sportscar racing career, with the ultimate ambition of one day competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
A packed weekend of Ginetta GT5 Challenge action at Rockingham begins with qualifying at 15.05 on Saturday 28th April, followed by the first of four 20-minute races at 17:40. Racing resumes on Sunday with the remaining three races taking place at 11:30, 15:25 and 17:40.
For further event and ticket information visit www.rockingham.co.uk
Live event timing and scoring can be accessed via www.tsl-timing.com