Optimum Motorsport is set to embark on its first season in GT World Challenge Europe, competing in the four-round Endurance Cup which gets underway this coming weekend (25-26 July, 2020) at Imola.

The British-based team has a fine record on GT competition over the last decade, taking wins and championships in British GT, International GT Open and the 24H Series. The team’s most recent title success was in 2019, clinching the Silver Cup crown in the British GT Championship.

Armed with the distinctive #69 Y.CO-sponsored 720S GT3, the team enter the Pro-class with McLaren Professional Driver Ollie Wilkinson and Factory Drivers Joe Osborne and Rob Bell.

The global pandemic put paid to the original calendar, but series organisers SRO have revised the schedule to include four rounds including the TOTAL Spa 24 Hours in October. For Optimum Motorsport, the official pre-season test at Paul Ricard has been followed up with further running on multiple circuits ahead of the first race in Italy.

Bas Leinders, Team Manager

GT World Challenge Europe is new to Optimum Motorsport, can you tell us a little about the pre-season preparations you have been able to undertake?
“We were able to do some good testing before and after the lock-down period which enabled us to understand the new McLaren 720S GT3. The drivers like the car very much and we hope to be competitive, we know that the level in GTWCE is extremely high and to get a result everything needs to be perfect. As a team we have also put a lot of focus on the pitstop and all the different rules we need to respect within the championship.”

What impact has COVID-19 had on the programme in terms of readiness?
“We were almost ready when the lock-down happened and then everything got stalled but all-in-all it did not hamper our preparation and it maybe gave us a little bit more time to prepare. What is 100 percent certain is that everybody in the team is very keen to get stuck into it.”

How is the team adapting to the new 720S GT3?
“The 720S GT3 is a great car and easy to work with and I have to say that we have a very good – and experienced – group of mechanics so that makes it all easier. All the drivers are ecstatic about the drivability, hopefully it will translate in good performance.”

You know Ollie well; Joe has a long record with the Optimum Motorsport while Rob is vastly experienced. Three differing characters in the one line up. How do you think they will gel?
“I believe we have a very good mix in our line-up, Ollie has made remarkable progress in the last year and he will learn even more from his more experienced teammates. Have worked and raced against Rob and Joe and they are two very professional drivers, while testing has already proved that they get along well and it will only get better.”