Optimum Motorsport have confirmed Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis as the two drivers charged with securing a second consecutive British GT Championship GT3 drivers title for the team. The Yorkshire based outfit successfully ran Jonny Adam and Flick Haigh to the title in the 2018 season and are back for more in 2019 with a new generation Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3.
Gunning for the Silver Cup, the duo will be forced to carry ballast during each race. This shouldn’t be a problem for Bradley Ellis though who returns to the top class for the first time since 2007. A then 17 year old Ellis took the title for Team RPM in the iconic Viper Competition Coupe.
Ollie Wilkinson is not as well known. Fourth place in the International GT Open series in 2018 tops his CV. GT Cup, Radical SR1 Cup and the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge are also among his credits. Only once in the Yorkshireman’s career has he raced for a team other than Optimum Motorsport.
The pairing is familiar to followers of the International GT Open but the duo will need to adapt in 2019. Previously they raced the Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS but the team race Aston Martins in the British championship. That means that championship hopes rest on the new-for-2019 Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3. Optimum is one of three teams giving the car its UK debut in British GT.
Team principal Shaun Goff is confident of a strong season despite Wilkinson’s relitive lack of experience at this level. He said, “2019 brings a new chapter for us with the new GT3 car and again we expect it to be a very tough battle in such a competitive championship. It’s a new championship for Ollie and we can’t forget that this is just his second full season at this level and that he’s still learning. Together with Bradley – who has tasted championship success in British GT – they have already proved to be a winning combination in GT Open, so even with the Silver-Silver disadvantages in terms of ballast, we look forward to the new season with optimism.”
The team also have their work cut out for them after previously announcing that they will also run a pair of the new GT4 Vantages with Connor O’Brien, Jack Butel, Mike Robinson and Patrik Matthiesen taking the driving duties in the junior class.
An excited Ollie Wilkinson said; ““To be making my British GT debut partnering a former champion is an exciting prospect in only my third year of racing. The more I drive in top level competition the more I learn, so taking on this top championship in the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 as a Silver-Silver pairing for the first time will be a mega new challenge.”
Ellis added; “This paddock is always welcoming but the friendly atmosphere is just a big cover up for how fierce the competition is. Myself and Ollie are under no illusion on how tough it’s going to be, especially with the Silver Cup additional ballast to slow us down, but we are looking forward to the season ahead.”