Ollie Wilkinson gets his 2020 season underway at Imola next weekend, as he makes his GT World Challenge powered by AWS debut in the Optimum Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3, sponsored by Y.CO – The Yacht company.
A McLaren Professional Driver, Wilkinson teams up with McLaren Factory Drivers Joe Osbourne and Rob Bell as a Pro line-up for the first time, to give the 720S GT3 its maiden series outing. The trio will contest all four rounds of the Endurance Cup, starting with the 3 Hours of Imola, Italy, 25-26 July.
Although a new challenge for the 24 year-old as he begins his fourth year of racing, the Yorkshireman can already count success on the European stage amongst his achievements. Those include outright and Pro class victory at the Red Bull Ring and two further podiums at Hockenheim during his 2019 GT Open campaign, plus outright victory at Spa-Francorchamps in British GT – one of five class wins that helped him and Bradley Ellis secure the Silver Cup last year.
The opening round of the Endurance Cup will be Wilkinson’s first outing at the famed Imola circuit, and competition debut in the McLaren 720S GT3. Wilkinson, Osborne and Bell will face some tough competition with 20 of the 42 full-season cars registered entered in the Pro class battle, but the trio are relishing the challenge.
“I’m really looking forward to going to Imola for the first time. It’s a circuit steeped in history and it will be pretty special to go and experience that whilst driving for McLaren,” says Ollie. “GT World Challenge Europe is reaching the pinnacle of GT racing so I’m not underestimating the fierce competition. At the same time we’ve got a great line-up with Joe and Rob, and McLaren trust us to go out there and do a good job.
“It’s the first race at Imola for the team too, so it’ll be a new experience for all of us. We go there with the aim of doing the best we can, not expecting to set the world alight. It will be the first time a 720S GT3 car has raced in the series and we just want to get the best result possible as a huge thank you to McLaren, the team and everyone who has worked so hard through these difficult times.”
Official practice on Friday will be the first opportunity for the #69 car to get to grips with the 3.050-mile Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit and prepare ahead of the 3 Hours of Imola. Qualifying will determine the starting grid for the opening round of the season at 17:30 (local time) on Saturday, July 25th, with the race due to start at 13:30 (local time) on Sunday.
Watch all the action live via the series website www.gt-world-challenge-europe.com/watch-live or tune into Sky Sports F1 from 12noon on Sunday for live race coverage.
Photo credit: Gary Parravani