McLaren Factory Driver, Ollie Wilkinson returns to JOTA with the McLaren 720S GT3 for another full season attack on the 2022 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS.
The Yorkshireman’s second season with JOTA, Wilkinson reunites with fellow McLaren Factory Driver Rob Bell for the Sprint Cup rounds, while Marvin Kirchhöfer joins the duo for the series’ five Endurance Cup encounters.
Teaming together for the first time in 2021, Wilkinson and Bell together with Ben Barnicoat took the JOTA McLaren to the cusp of the GT World Challenge Europe podium on several occasions. Two fourth-place finishes in the Sprint Cup, at Magny-Cours and Valencia, an outstanding seventh on their TotalEngeries 24 Hours of Spa debut and a string of top-10 Endurance Cup results among their highlights.
It was, however, a dramatic season. Thanks to the strength of the McLaren 720S GT3, Wilkinson escaped serious injury following a huge accident when knocked out of the Sprint Cup lead at Brands Hatch, while the JOTA squad were also denied a second-place finish in the Sprint Cup finale in Valencia. Wilkinson justifiably feels there’s unfinished business to attend to.
“It’s great to be back with JOTA for another GT World Challenge Europe attack. Rob and I came painfully close to scoring our first podium last season. We showed we have the pace and potential. This year, we’re aiming for those top-three results in the McLaren,” Ollie said.
First up is the series’ opening season round at Imola, Italy, 1-3 April, a circuit where Wilkinson last raced in 2020, giving the McLaren its series debut. Back then, together with Bell and Joe Osborne, Wilkinson propelled the 720S GT3 from 22nd to finish eighth.
Up against Europe’s elite again this season, Wilkinson and Bell are joined by team newcomer Kirchhöfer, a former series race winner in 2020 with Garage 59, to forge a new partnership for the 2022 GT World Challenge Europe.
“I can’t wait to get started,” Ollie continues. “Although we got some great results, last season was frustrating at times. We came so close to taking our first wins and podiums. But with that frustration comes the confidence that it can only be a matter of time before we get that top-three result. With Marvin joining us this season, we have some new energy and experience in the team. We come back fitter and stronger, ready to get those top results.”
Wilkinson will get his 2022 season underway in Italy with testing on Friday 1st April, ahead of Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying on Saturday. The first Qualifying session of the season takes place at 09:00 (CET) on Sunday. The 2022 season proper gets under way with the three-hour Endurance Cup opener, starting at 15:00.
Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS – Round 1 – Imola
Endurance Cup – Provisional Schedule
Saturday 2nd April
09:00 – Free Practice (90 mins) Watch live
14:05 – Pre-Qualifying (90 mins) Watch live
Sunday 3rd April
09:00 – Qualifying (3 x 15 mins) Watch live
15:00 – Race (3 hours) Watch live
All times CET.