Optimum Racing will continue to compete in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup (formerly Blancpain GT Series). McLaren professional driver Ollie Wilkinson will be returning to the series and will be joining together with McLaren factory drivers Joe Osborne and Rob Bell in a McLaren 720S GT3 in the all-Pro class this season.
Wilkinson started his career with the team back in 2017, and has taken victories for the team in the British GT and International GT Open series. Last year he claimed the Silver Cup in the Blancpain GT series, The Brit is looking forward to race with his teammates Osborne and Bell this season in the five-round campaign.
“I’ve been with Optimum since I started racing in 2017 and it feels like home. It’s been great to help build a relationship between them and McLaren and to take my next big step whilst staying with the team. It’s a massive deal for me to be moving up to the top level of GT3 racing, I’m really looking forward to the challenges ahead and to work with Rob and Joe.” Wilkinson commented.
“Learning from two such highly-experienced Factory Drivers will only help to push me to another level. I can’t wait to get to grips with the 720S GT3 and help showcase what we believe the car is capable of on the GT World Challenge stage.
“The level of competition is going to be really high and I’m certainly not underestimating how hard it will be, but at the same time I couldn’t be more excited to be part of such a world-class championship.”
“Ollie joined us to race Ginettas in 2017 and after three seasons together, has already won races and titles and we believe he will win many more. We also welcome back Joe to the Endurance Championship.
“He’s a well-known quantity and always a great addition to any team. It’s also a privilege to have a driver the calibre of Rob Bell in completing such a strong Pro line-up.” Shaun Goff, Team Principal said.
Osborne started with the team back in 2007 and he last competed for the team in the 2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup. Osborne was appointed as a factory driver from McLaren in 2018 and he was in the programme to develop the new 720S GT3 which he raced within the 2019 China GT Championship. He took two victories and was standing on the podium at all the races of the six-round championship.
“I’m buzzing to get the season underway and to be back working with Optimum Motorsport, now running with the McLaren 720S GT3. I’m really looking forward to teaming up with Ollie and Rob, and we have the tools we need to have a strong year and push for results.” Osborne commented.
“While Ollie is new to McLaren, he has proved himself to be extremely quick and capable, and I have worked with and raced with Rob for a number of years now so I’m confident we will be up to speed pretty quickly.
“I am excited to be back racing with Optimum Motorsport as well, building on the relationship I have had with the team for the past 14 years.”
“I’m really proud to be working with McLaren and we have put a huge amount of effort and resource into 720S GT3 programme, so it is great to have the opportunity to show the car in arguably the most challenging GT3 championship in the world. I can’t wait to be back in the car and on the grid to get the 2020 season going.”
Bell has secured multiple titles during his race career, including winning the Blancpain GT Series in 2016 and International GT Open in 2017. He raced recently in the British GT series last year in a 720S GT3, which he took a win with the car at the season finale in Donington Park. Alongside Osbourne, they have develope the car for McLaren.
“I’m delighted to be driving the 720S GT3 for Optimum Motorsport alongside Ollie and Joe in the Endurance Series. It’s an extremely competitive championship and I’m especially looking forward to taking on one of the biggest challenges in GT3 racing, which is the 24 Hours of Spa.” Bell commented.
“Behind the scenes at McLaren Customer Racing, we’ve been working hard to produce the best-performing car for this event, and this will be an amazing opportunity to show what we can do!”
“I’m delighted to be competing at such a high level in 2020 and excited to join the McLaren Customer Racing family. It has always been our aim to race in the GT World Challenge Europe in 2020, and I’m especially pleased to be working with McLaren and we have three great drivers in the line-up.” Goff added.