A weekend of challenges greeted Jack Butel and his Optimum Motorsport team mate Connor O’Brien when the 2019 British GT Championship arrived at Snetterton’s 300 circuit in Norfolk. The duo who share the #35 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 found straight line speed to be an issue on the big straights of one of the longest circuits on the calendar.
Race 1 brought damage after contact with a competitor early in the race. Struggling with suspension issues, the pair fought to bring the car home in 10th place at the chequered flag. The second race was yet more damage limitation. 11th was the best the pair could turn out after the crew repaired their Aston Martin.
The challenges are set to continue into the first of the long distance races, with both the Hangar and Wellington straights at Silverstone making straight line speed a key factor in success.
Aston Martin Academy driver Butel said, “This whole weekend has been really tough, right from free practice. In quali we were just not on the pace and I can’t fault the team as they’re doing an amazing job, but our rival manufacturers are just pulling away from us. They have the power and way more grip and that’s annoying as I know the team have done the absolute maximum to get the car as well prepared as they can.”
Optimum Motorsport are not alone in struggling with the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4, which made its debut trip to the podium this weekend with TF Sport. Until the second race at Snetterton, every overall GT4 class podium was populated solely by second or third season GT4 machines.
The team have three weeks to work on the problem before the 3 hour season highlight at the home of British Motorsport. Action resumes on the 8th and 9th June.