Newly promoted McLaren factory driver Ollie Wilkinson will help spearhead multiple Le Mans-winning team JOTA’s attack on the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS championship this year.
Wilkinson will be joined by Ben Barnicoat and Rob Bell to form an all-Factory Driver line-up, sharing a McLaren 720S GT3 in both the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance and Sprint championships.
The lineups will consist of Barnicoat and Wilkinson sharing driving duties in the Sprint Cup races with Bell joining them to tackle the Endurance rounds.
In just four years the young Yorkshireman has become a full McLaren Factory driver, a year on from becoming a Professional Driver at McLaren Customer Racing in 2020.
In his short career, he has won the 2019 British GT Silver Cup trophy, amassed numerous outright and class GT3 victories in the Pro-Am and Pro sportscar categories, and scored impressive top-10 results during select rounds of the 2020 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup with McLaren Customer Racing outfit, Optimum Motorsport.
This level of success has guaranteed his full factory driver status as well as a place with the famous and successful JOTA team who have paired up with McLaren as the team makes it first GT Racing appearance since 2012.
The team has plenty of success in prototypes, with two LMP2 victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours including leading the event outright in 2017, the first LMP2 team to hold that honour, on their way to finishing second and third overall.
The Kent-based outfit has also amassed a plethora of ELMS and ALMS championship titles across the LMP2 and LMP3 categories.
“I’m incredibly proud to become a McLaren Factory Driver,” said Ollie.
“It’s mind-blowing to have achieved this at such an early stage of my career. I thank McLaren for this opportunity and for putting so much belief in me.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join the JOTA team. Over the past two decades, they have proved they’ve got what it takes to win titles at every level and to be joining them as part of an all-McLaren Factory Driver line-up is epic.
“It’s great to have Ben and Rob as my team-mates and I hope between us we can get the job done.”
JOTA, whose previous alumi includes Harry Tincknell, Mitch Evans, and Oliver Turvey to name but a few, were happy to welcome Wilkinson to the team and aimed to see his career progress in a similar manner to his predecessors.
“We are especially pleased to have Ollie Wilkinson in the JOTA team, he’s a talented young driver and we would like to help enhance his career. In fact there are nine JOTA drivers in Formula E and we would like Ollie to be the next JOTA driver success story,” said David Clark, JOTA Co-Owner.
Clark was also confident that due to have similarities in a great depth in engineering capability and a winning mentality the McLaren and JOTA partnership would soon become a major force in GT racing.
The GT World Challenge Europe season is due to begin with a 3 hour Endurance Race at Monza on 16-18 April 2021.