Optimum unveil Aston Martin GT3 assault for Haigh and two-time champion Adam
Optimum Motorsport will return to the British GT Championship’s GT3 ranks in 2018 after confirming Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam aboard its new Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.
The Wakefield-based squad last contested the national series’ top class in 2016 when it entered an Audi R8 LMS GT3 for Ryan Ratcliffe and Will Moore. Switching to Aston Martin therefore represents a significant change for the outfit, which is perhaps best known for winning 2016’s GT4 Drivers’ title with Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson, who finished second in the same class earlier this year.
However, it’s the announcement of two-time champion Adam – British GT’s all-time winningest GT3 driver and AMR factory ace – that will spark greatest interest. All 12 of the Scot’s outright victories have come with Aston Martin, while he has never failed to win a race in each of his seven British GT seasons.
The move also brings his highly successful two-year partnership with Derek Johnston and TF Sport to a close. The pair finished third together in this year’s standings after claiming the GT3 crown in 2016.
“It’s great to be joining Optimum Motorsport,” said Adam. “It’s a new team for me and for Aston Martin Racing, so it’s fantastic that they have a new customer in Optimum Motorsport and in Flick.
“She’s done a lot of racing and her times are good, as is her consistency, so we’ll be pushing hard in what is a really important season ahead. Optimum Motorsport are winners in the 24H Series and in British GT, so I’m very upbeat about the season ahead. We know it’s never easy, but the aim is to work with Flick to put together what we believe will be a strong championship challenge.
“The Aston Martin Vantage GT3 has had a lot success in the UK and Europe over the last few seasons because it’s a driver friendly car, so I’ll spend time with Flick as she adapts to this new equipment and we’ll do a lot of pre-season work, including some prep in the simulator. To be successful in this championship, both drivers have to be able to get the very best from the package and I’m looking forward to this new challenge.”
Haigh, meanwhile, is no stranger to the Optimum fold having competed with the team in various championships and standalone races since 2015. A year later the partnership finished second in the Gulf 12 Hours before entering this season’s GT3 Le Mans Cup with the same Audi R8 LMS as Ratcliffe and Moore raced in 2016.
“I’m really excited about this and I’m very much looking forward to getting back behind the wheel,” she said. “It’s like starting again, we have the right car, the right team-mate and we’ll be flat out to make the best of this amazing opportunity.
“I’ve already met with Jonny and he’ll be a pleasure to work with. He’s very down to earth and we know his track record in the Aston is sensational. It’s a while since I have raced in the UK; but the new challenge will be very exciting and I can’t wait to get stuck in.
“To have Aston Martin Racing turn around and offer me their number one guy is amazing. This is a great opportunity and I’ll grab it with both hands.”
Team principal Shaun Goff added: “It's shaping up to be another great year for Optimum Motorsport. We’re thrilled to be putting this package together with Flick, Jonny and Aston Martin Racing as we return to the GT3 level in the championship.
“Jonny has already begun to assist both my team and Flick in sharing his knowledge about the car, so we have a good idea as to what to expect. We take delivery of the car from Prodrive at the end of January and from there we’re into the test programme where we expect to be quickly up to speed.
“We’re confident we’ll be strong and all of Optimum Motorsport are very excited about this all-new project for 2018!”
The 2018 British GT Championship gets underway at Oulton Park over Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (March 31-April 2). Click here to reserve your discounted tickets!
DID YOU KNOW?
While many women have contested British GT4 in recent years, Haigh will be the first to race in the championship’s GT3 class since Rachel Green partnered Piers Johnson in a Team Modena Lamborghini Gallardo at Silverstone in 2008.
No woman has ever won a British GT race outright, a statistic the 33-year-old will be eager to rectify in 2018.