Optimum Motorsport’s commitment in the face of a frustrating first British GT3 outing of the season at Brands Hatch has been recognised by the Yorkshire-based squad winning the inaugural Professional Motorsport World Expo Team of the Weekend Award.
The prize is offered to an outfit that has gone above and beyond or produced a stand-out act at each 2016 British GT event. This, amongst other considerations, might include overcoming a particularly difficult technical issue, executing an innovative race strategy to perfection or achieving an unexpected result in the face of adversity.
Several off-track excursions during practice and qualifying gave Optimum’s mechanics plenty of experience clearing gravel from the #14 Audi R8 GT3 LMS, as well as a mad dash to Leeds and back on Saturday for a new underfloor.
That resulted in a strong showing during the first 30 minutes of Sunday’s race when Ryan Ratcliffe moved from 12th to fifth before a Full Course Yellow was called. Sadly, the car ended its afternoon in the Paddock Hill Bend gravel bed after Will Moore, who’d taken over the car, experienced the same issue that had plagued the Audi’s balance throughout the weekend.
Optimum Motorsport Team Principal, Shaun Goff, said: “Of course, the way the weekend went for Ryan Ratcliffe and Will Moore wasn't ideal. There was some nervousness in the car through the high-speed corners and we will be looking to cure that with assistance from Audi Sport. We don’t want to be removing gravel from the car four or five times every weekend. We don’t have the speed to compete on the straights and the handling issues meant we were heavily compromised in areas where the car should have been strong.”
British GT Championship Manager Benjamin Franassovici added: “There were a number of candidates for this weekend’s award but, in the end, we felt Optimum’s persistence and never-say-die attitude gave them the edge. The Audi ran strongly during Sunday’s race and I’ve no doubt that same spirit will help the team move further forwards at the coming rounds.”
A trophy is awarded to each PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award winner at every round before one overall ‘champion’ is crowned at the end-of-season prize giving ceremony where their sporting attitude, dedication and spirit will be recognised.