Optimum Motorsport Move to GT3 with Audi

by Nick Smith

Ginetta stalwarts Optimum Motorsport are preparing for a season in the top class of Avon Tyres British GT Championship and 24h Series competition after finalising a deal to run the first customer Audi R8 LMS GT3 in 2016. The new GT3 car will run alongside a Ginetta based GT4 campaign in British GT.

After class wins in the Mugello 12 Hours and the Hankook 24h Dubai, Team Principal Shaun Goff has decided to step up and the strong results for the car in development convinced the team to opt for the Quattro GmBh product. The R8 LMS GT3 claimed victory at the first attempt on the Nurburgring for 24 hours and took second and third place on the podium at the Blancpain Endurance Series 24 hour race at Spa-Francorchamps.

The team’s current British GT drivers, Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson will continue in the outfit’s Ginetta G55 GT4 while a separate team of mechanics and engineers get to grips with the Audi ahead of it’s competitive debut at Dubai in January.

Shaun Goff said, “The previous R8 was a world-beater and in its debut year, the new R8 LMS has already taken a massive victory on the Nordschleife, and almost followed that up with a win in the Spa 24 Hour. The car should work incredibly well in the UK as well as on European tracks, and that stands us in good stead for the forthcoming years. The calibre of Audi’s customer department combined with the obvious performance built into the car were an enticing mix for us, and they really made it clear that they wanted to work with us. That proved crucial and was a major factor in my decision-making. Our plan is to find a strong pairing for British GT to mount a serious attempt at the title in our first year, and the Creventic-owned 24H Series is just getting better and better. The GT3 class is attracting big names and we’ve begun discussions with some drivers already.”

The announcement follows Barwell Motorsport’s recent declaration that they will run Lamborghini Huracan GT3 race cars in 2016. New car announcements are also expected from Triple Eight Race Engineering, Preci-Spark and RAM Racing, all of whom race machines which will be replaced by new models in 2016. The new car is the first full season Audi in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship since United Autosports ended their participation in 2014.

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