Ollie Wilkinson is already hailing the Goodwood Festival of Speed as one of the stand-out moments of his so far short career, after the 23-year-old made his debut at the world-renowned event last week.
The British GT Championship and International GT Open driver seized the opportunity to showcase the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 for Optimum Motorsport, in what is only his third season of racing.
Undertaking two runs up the famous hillclimb each day, Ollie soon became a commentators’ and crowd favourite as he fully entered into the spirit of the event, performing numerous burnouts along the route each time.
Wilkinson, who was recently upgraded to Pro driver status by the International GT Open championship and currently leads the Silver Cup British GT category, also joined the 70th anniversary Aston Martin celebrations staged at the front of the majestic Goodwood House, marking the car company’s first race at Goodwood in 1949.
British GT fans in particular were delighted to see the stunning Optimum Motorsport-run Aston Martin back in action after a freak refuelling fire at Donington Park two weeks ago. The incident demolished Ollie and teammate Bradley Ellis’ outright podium chances, after Wilkinson scythed from seventh to lie third ahead of the mandatory pit stop. Thanks to an outstanding job from the Optimum crew, the #96 car was back on-track for all to enjoy.
“I’m blown away by my first Goodwood Festival of Speed,” said Ollie. “It’s been great to represent Optimum Motorsport at such a unique event, driving past Goodwood House for the first time was quite a surreal experience but I loved it. The crowds have been so welcoming, cheering on my burnout antics but, showmanship aside, this is yet another thing I never dreamed I would be doing when I first got behind the wheel of a racing car three years ago. I hope this was the first of many appearances for me at this amazing event.”
Shaun Goff, Optimum Motorsport Team Principal, added: “Optimum Motorsport’s first Goodwood Festival of Speed was a memorable one. Tasked with the job of showcasing the new generation GT3 up the hill was a fantastic opportunity for both Optimum Motorsport and ‘big fan favourite’, Ollie Wilkinson. He put on a great show for the crowds and the team. Joining the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of Aston Martin’s first race at Goodwood made it all a little more special. We hope to be back again!”
Ollie and the Optimum Motorsport outfit heads straight from Goodwood to the Red Bull Ring in Austria to contest round three of the International GT Open championship, 13-14 July.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography