A fresh challenge awaits upcoming sportscar racer Ollie Wilkinson this season as he adds the British GT Championship to his 2019 racing commitments with reigning GT3 Champions, Optimum Motorsport.
The 22-year-old Yorkshireman will make his series debut alongside teammate, 2007 British GT Champion Bradley Ellis, as a Silver-Silver pairing in the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3, with invaluable backing from My Possible Self, the mental health app.
Although a newcomer to Britain’s premier sportscar series, Wilkinson is no stranger to the British GT paddock. It’s where he began his racing career just two seasons ago in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge support championship, proving his potential with three pole positions, five fastest laps and six podiums to rank third overall.
Since then, Wilkinson has marked himself out as a winner in GT3 racing amid an outstanding maiden International GT Open campaign last year. Rapidly adapting to the Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS whilst learning Europe’s top tracks, ‘Wilko’ capped his first year partnering Ellis with a brace of GT3 Pro-Am victories and podium finishes.
Switching to Aston Martin machinery for 2019, Wilkinson is relishing his latest challenge of getting to grips with the all-new Vantage GT3 whilst re-familiarising himself with the UK’s most demanding circuits.
Dovetailing their British GT campaign with their full-season International GT Open commitment, the Optimum Motorsport duo will contest all but one of the seven-round British GT calendar, due to the Silverstone GP event clashing with GT Open at Spa-Francorchamps.
Wilkinson will open his British GT Championship account at Oulton Park, 20-22 April.
Ollie Wilkinson: “I started my racing career in Ginetta GT5 Challenge on the British GT package and, back then, I aspired to race in the flagship series. I didn’t dream I’d be doing just that with the reigning championship-winning team and a former series champion two years later. It will be amazing to return to race on the tracks I first learnt my trade on with the stunning Aston Martin Vantage GT3, and experience the pinnacle of British motorsport. There will be a lot for me to take on board, but I can’t wait to get on the grid at Oulton Park.”
Bradley Ellis: “I’m excited to be returning to British GT with Ollie. It’s been a long time since I raced a GT3 car in the series and it’s an exciting prospect to return with the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and Optimum. The Silver Cup is a little unknown for us, as we have to carry a lot of penalty weight as a Silver-Silver pairing. That will impact our outright pace, but we should be ok over race distance. The level of competition is fierce and it’s another big step for Ollie in a more pressured environment. The longer endurance races, a new tyre compound and some regulations will be new to him, but he meets every challenge head-on and keeps raising his game, so he’s going to relish the experience.”
Shaun Goff, Optimum Motorsport Team Principal: “It’s fantastic to have Ollie and Brad join us for the 2019 British GT campaign. The Aston Martins have always gone well on the UK circuits and we know as a team what it takes to win a title, so we’re confident that we should be looking good to be in the title hunt from the off. I’m pleased to have bolstered our push for success in 2019 by retaining key members of staff from our 2018 British GT winning campaign, Engineer Evert Van Doorn and Team Manager Bas Leinders. 2019 is shaping up nicely for Optimum Motorsport.”
2019 British GT Championship Calendar
Round 1 – 20-22 April – Oulton Park, Cheshire, UK
Round 2 – 18-19 May – Snetterton 300, Norfolk, UK
Round 3 – 8-9 June – Silverstone GP, Northamptonshire, UK*
Round 4 – 22-23 June – Donington Park GP, Leicestershire, UK
Round 5 – 20-21 July – Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Round 6 – 3-4 August – Brands Hatch GP, Kent, UK
Round 7 – 14-15 September – Donington Park GP, Leicestershire, UK
*Ollie and Bradley will miss the Silverstone GP round.
For further information on the British GT Championship visit www.britishgt.com
Photo credit: Hype Creative