Wilkinson Takes Maiden GT Career Brands Hatch Hat-trick

Ollie Wilkinson earned what are sure to be the first of many race wins as the 21 year-old Yorkshireman claimed a hat-trick of victories around the historic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, in the Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS. 

Making a one-off GT Cup appearance this weekend during his first season of GT3 competition, Wilkinson more than rose to the challenge, taking pole by 0.426 seconds before going on to claim a pair of dominant GTO class and outright pole-to-flag wins in the sun on Saturday.

Picking up where he left off, Ollie set about completing his hat-trick on Sunday, this time alongside teammate and driver coach, Bradley Ellis, in the 50-minute feature race. Once again pulling out a commanding lead from pole, secured by 2.631 seconds, Wilkinson pushed on in the knowledge that the Optimum Motorsport duo needed a margin of at least 15 seconds before the pit stop window to be sure of retaining the lead.

A stellar drive saw Ollie edge the gap by over two seconds a lap, ensuring he was able to handover the My Possible Self sponsored Audi R8 to Ellis with a huge 36 second cushion over his nearest rival. This allowed Bradley to cruise to the flag and steal a clean sweep of GT Cup wins.

Wilkinson has worked his way to the top of the rostrum in an incredibly short space of time, having only started his first racing season last year.

Competing in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, Ollie turned heads by taking pole position by 1.123 seconds in only his second ever qualifying session. He went on to notch up three pole positions, five fastest laps and six podiums to rank third overall. The rookie rounded out 2017 with his first Pro-Am podium, claiming second place on his International GT Open debut at Barcelona last October – his first event pairing with sportscar ace, Ellis.

For 2018, Wilkinson takes the mighty step up to GT3 competition. Just last month, the pair were robbed of certain Pro-Am victory in the season opening GT Open round at Estoril when their 10 second class lead and winning hopes were destroyed by gearbox failure just a few corners from the flag.

Wilko’s outstanding Brands Hatch form goes some way to making amends for that disappointment, but there’s still unfinished business to attend to come the second GT Open round at Spa next month.

“It’s not sunk in yet! It’s an amazing feeling, really,” said Wilkinson. “Coming here not knowing what our pace would be like and to leave with three wins, two pole positions and a fastest lap is a massive confidence boost for me. It softens the blow from the GT Open result. I came very close to a win last year and then, with the gearbox failure in Estoril, I was starting to think I was cursed! But it’s nice to have come here and not only break that but break it in style!”

“Ollie’s done an amazing job all weekend,” added Ellis. “Going into this event, he’s only done one track day here and we did the track walk on Friday to make sure he knew which corner went left and right, but that’s it. Right from the first session he’s topped the timing screens whilst racing in a completely new championship around the Brands Grand Prix circuit, which is a big challenge in a fast car. To be able to master all that in such a short space of time is remarkable. Everything we throw at him he seems to master pretty quickly, as he’s proved again this weekend.”

Photo credit: Gary Hawkins

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