Ollie Wilkinson is back on the Intelligent Money British GT Championship trail this weekend in the Optimum Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3, as the penultimate rounds of the truncated 2020 series play out on 3-4 October around the Snetterton 300 circuit.
The McLaren Professional Driver heads to the Norfolk track hoping to rekindle the results gained there in his British GT debut year, where he and Bradley Ellis earned their third Silver Cup victory and a second place class result in the Aston Martin.
After finishing sixth overall in the 2019 series, Wilkinson and 2020 team-mate – McLaren Academy Driver Lewis Proctor – currently lie eighth in the outright title fight, just 2.5 points away from a place in the outright top five.
The Optimum Motorsport duo can be encouraged by their recent form on their second outing of the season at Donington Park, where Proctor took the fight to the front of the grid, while Wilkinson led for over 40 minutes of the three-hour encounter. Just one safety car period was all they needed to be in with a chance of taking their maiden outright win, or near-certain podium, but a relatively incident free 117 laps of racing meant their bold pit-stop strategy didn’t quite pay off.
Still, the resulting top five finish and fourth in class healed some of the frustration encountered at Brands Hatch last month, and maintained Wilkinson and Proctor’s faultless point-scoring record.
The season is far from over, with two one-hour races at Snetterton ahead of the final round at Silverstone in early November, where another three-hour marathon puts 1.5x championship points on offer.
Before Wilkinson can get back to his British GT duties, however, the 24 year-old must first focus on the official two-day test ahead of his Total 24 Hours of Spa race debut, and the third round of his GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup campaign.
“With everything that is happening in the world this year, the last British GT round at Snetterton in May last year seems a lifetime ago. The championship has done an outstanding job of delivering a fantastic condensed season of racing this year, and I look forward to returning to Snetterton,” says Wilkinson.
“The circuit has been known to encounter every season of weather during a race weekend, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we have some interesting conditions to contend with heading there in late September. I’d love it to be wet, it would suit us and our Y.Co-sponsored McLaren 720S GT3 well, and help close the gap between the Pro-Am and Silver Cup teams.
“It was encouraging to lead the race for so long at Donington, strategy didn’t go our way but we learned a lot to take into the final rounds. We’ve made a good step forward with our qualifying performance as a team and we’ll continue to work on getting us into the top six on the grid. Winning the Silver Cup for a second year would be a big ask now, but we’ll keep pushing and see what we can do.”
Qualifying at Snetterton for the penultimate British GT race weekend of the season gets underway at 16:00hrs on Saturday 3 October. Two one-hour races follow at 10:15hrs and 15:10hrs on Sunday, with live coverage available via the British GT’s website and social media channels.
Photo credit: Gary Parravani