Double British GT champion Jonny Adam believes the feel-good factor at Optimum Motorsport can prove the catalyst for the team’s title charge in 2018.
Following a frustrating 2017 campaign in which the Scotsman fell short in his bid for a third successive top-class title, Adam crossed the AMR divide this year by joining GT3 returnees Optimum alongside series debutant Flick Haigh.
A promising winter period and the electric speed of history-maker Haigh – who became first woman to land overall pole in series history on Saturday – leaves an excited Adam confident of gunning for title glory in 2018.
“Ultimately, we want to go for the championship – with the way Flick’s performing already, I think we can put a run together,” Adam said.
“We made some changes to the car on Friday before the meeting, and the car felt really nice in the opening sessions.
“Flick got a good chunk of running the car in testing and she’s been really quick in the dry conditions. She’s at a nice level, and has previous experience racing GT3 in Europe – she loves the car because it really suits her driving style.”
While Haigh’s blazing pace in the opening qualifying session of the year may have caught a few of Optimum’s competitors off-guard, Adam believes that both he and Haigh are deservedly reaping the rewards from their intense off-season preparation together.
“The biggest thing is learning to work with your AM partner, and that’s why I’ve done a lot of simulator coaching with Flick behind the scenes over the last two months to try and help her focus and re-learn some of the little secrets behind these circuits which all add up.
“We both have a very similar approach and style, so it really helps when we’re analysing data from the car.”
“I didn’t even really know team principal Shaun [Goff] or Flick before I arrived here, but we’ve all gelled together really well.”
The murky skies above the Cheshire circuit held out during Saturday’s qualifying, but with a miserable forecast predicting sporadic showers across race day, Adam is hopeful Aston’s overall competitiveness will be enough to fend off Barwell Motorsport and their feisty fleet of Lamborghini.
“The Aston’s not bad around Oulton, but the Lamborghini is normally pretty quick in the wet around here which is something we might see on Monday.
“We’ve done some previous testing at Oulton and the weather wasn’t great, so hopefully that experience will help us if the rain does come down.”
With a myriad of AMR factory drivers only adding to the quality of a star-laden and highly-competitive GT3 grid in 2018, Adam is hoping that some timely assistance from those who helped lead him to Le Mans glory a year ago will boost Aston Martin’s chances of making a splash in the fight for this year’s title.
“We’ve brought some good people over from Aston Martin, we want to support as many people as we can – that’s why we’ve got five factory drivers here this year.
“We’ve got one of the Le Mans-winning engineers I was with last year over here to help us this weekend and some Aston Martin technicians – we like to support customers, and especially this year since it’s such a big year for Aston Martin in British GT.
“GT3 is looking really good in British GT right now – 13 cars and five Aston factory drivers and some incredibly quick Pro drivers like Rob Bell, Phil Keen and Yelmer Buurman who are all very good and will be really competitive.”
A sluggish start to last year’s campaign proved too much for TF Sport to overcome as Team Parker Racing and Barwell Motorsport strode clear at the top of the standings, and a wary Adam insists that consistency and a decent points haul from a vital first event will be key to defining Optimum’s championship aspirations.
“Consistency wins titles, so this weekend is all about points,
“I’ve been in the situation where, if you get off to a bad start, it’s hard to claw 25 or 30 points back to the leaders so this weekend we just need to be sensible and try to get the car home.”