Ollie Wilkinson will continue the biggest season of his fledgling racing career when he returns to action in the International GT Open Championship this weekend, 13-14 July, at the picturesque Red Bull Ring circuit in Austria.
The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will return to the European stage for the two races around the Spielberg circuit at the wheel of the Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3.
Having skipped the last round of the GT Open at Spa-Francorchamps in order to contest the showpiece Silverstone 500 round of the British GT Championship, Wilkinson is excited to return to international racing, and will be joined by a new co-driver in the form of Aston Martin works driver and Le Mans 24 Hours class-winner Jonny Adam as one-off for Austria.
Wilkinson and Adam will fight it out for overall honours as a professional-class pairing, following Wilkinson’s move up the gradings ahead of Hockenheim, the second round of the GT Open season.
Despite being in just his third season of racing, Wilkinson showed enough skill and potential to be elevated to professional status. And he proved his mettle against the best by scoring a podium finish during the second race with that grading in Germany.
Despite missing a round due to his dual campaign this season, Wilkinson still sits seventh in the GT Open points, with plenty of potential to score in Austria this weekend.
Despite never having raced at the Red Bull Ring, Wilkinson has tested at the venue, and believes it can be a successful layout for the powerful Aston.
“I can’t wait to get back out in the GT Open, and the Red Bull Ring is just such a beautiful circuit, both in terms of its challenge and its location,” says Wilkinson.
“Even though it’s a short lap, it’s a very quick track, with a nice mixture of medium- and slow-speed corners combined with flat-out straights, which should suit the Aston nicely. The biggest challenge will be going up against the Pro drivers again. Even though I got a great result at Hockenheim, I’m still learning at this level, but loving every minute of it.
“Working with Jonny Adam will be great, but it’s a one-off. We’ve done a few test days together and know each other pretty well, plus he’s a proven professional so I have no doubt I can learn a few things from him. I’ve had some brilliant team-mates this year in Bradley Ellis, Darren Turner and now Jonny, so I couldn’t wish for a better crew to work with.”
Qualifying for the International GT Open is scheduled for 09:50hrs (local time) on Saturday, with the 70-minute race due to start at 15:25hrs. Sunday qualifying will take place at 08:50hrs with the hour-long race at 14:30hrs. Both outings will be streamed live on the International GT Open YouTube channel.