Ryan Ratcliffe and Will Moore will be taking to the British GT Championship in an Audi R8 LMS as Optimum Motorsport confirmed their line up for the 2016 season.
Regular runners in the GT4 class with Ginetta G55s, the Wakefield-based team is stepping up to the top class in British GT for this year in the brand new GT3 Audi.
The team already has experience with the car as it competed in January’s 24 Hours of Dubai, where the car finished fifth overall and fourth in class in a race featuring 99 other competitors.
Ratcliffe, who was racing with the team in Dubai, said: “The whole team did a great job for its first GT3 endurance race and this is encouraging and comforting going into this year’s British GT Championship. I have loved working with GT3-spec machinery for the past two years and, although I found the Audi R8 LMS was easy to get to grips with, you need a lot of trust in the car to be quick.
“Going from GT4 to GT3 is a huge step and everything from the competition to the car will be much harder and more serious. It’s a good way to learn quickly and I’m confident going in to the season that we can get consistent top-five results to be up there at the end of the year. I’m pretty comfortable in the R8 and with setting it up so I’m looking forward to driving some of the UK circuits in the car.”
As mentioned, joining Ratcliffe will be Will Moore who spent last season racing alongside Dennis Strandberg in the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin GT4. Now, with his move to GT3, he’s looking forward to the upcoming season: “I take a lot of optimism from Optimum Motorsport’s performance in Dubai and I’m really excited about what’s in store during the forthcoming British GT season. We will have to do a lot of learning quickly, but I feel that’s achievable and we get up-to-speed and be there or thereabouts. Like Ryan (Ratcliffe), I’m hoping to feature consistently inside the top five positions to be up at the sharp end come the end of the year.”
The final word goes to Optimum Motorsport boss Shaun Goff, who is looking forward to British GT in 2016: “Competing in a 24-hour race with the Audi means we have already covered the total distance we will do in the British GT Championship. The car is now no longer new to us, so we just need to focus on setting it up for the new 2016 Pirelli tyre. We have experience with Ryan (Ratcliffe) in Blancpain and the Dubai 24 Hours and that means he is on the front foot already.
“I believe his transition will be easy with a season of GT4 under his belt. He can just focus on learning the car and, from what I’ve seen of the Audi, it’s an easy car to adapt to. I’m sure Will (Moore) will be on the pace very quickly and I believe this season will be another competitive one for Optimum Motorsport. I expect to be in the mix from the very beginning and, who knows, we might even take home some silverware!”