Optimum Motorsport is delighted to confirm that Ryan Ratcliffe and William Moore will lead the team into its maiden foray in the Pirelli British GT Championship’s headlining GT3 division with its new Audi R8 LMS.
The Wakefield-based squad is a Ginetta GT4 stalwart and British GT Championship titles and prestigious endurance race wins have contributed to its status as one of the world’s top Ginetta teams.
However, it is switching up a gear and fielding thoroughbred GT3-specification machinery for the first time in 2016 and it will run the latest generation Audi R8 LMS for Ratcliffe and Moore in the burgeoning British GT Championship, alongside its commitments in the CREVENTIC 24H Series.
Last month’s HANKOOK Dubai 24 Hours was a shining example of the depth and quality within Optimum’s ranks, as it took its quartet of drivers, including Ratcliffe, to fifth overall and fourth in class against a high-calibre 100-car entry at the end of the demanding twice-around-the-clock enduro.
For Ratcliffe, the Dubai result is a great source of encouragement and he says: “The whole team did a great job for its first GT3 endurance race and this is encouraging and comforting going into this year’s British GT Championship. I have loved working with GT3-spec machinery for the past two years and, although I found the Audi R8 LMS was easy to get to grips with, you need a lot of trust in the car to be quick.
“Going from GT4 to GT3 is a huge step and everything from the competition to the car will be much harder and more serious. It’s a good way to learn quickly and I’m confident going in to the season that we can get consistent top-five results to be up there at the end of the year. I’m pretty comfortable in the R8 and with setting it up so I’m looking forward to driving some of the UK circuits in the car.”
Moore added: “I take a lot of optimism from Optimum Motorsport’s performance in Dubai and I’m really excited about what’s in store during the forthcoming British GT season. We will have to do a lot of learning quickly, but I feel that’s achievable and we get up-to-speed and be there or thereabouts. Like Ryan (Ratcliffe), I’m hoping to feature consistently inside the top five positions to be up at the sharp end come the end of the year.”
Optimum Motorsport Team Principal, Shaun Goff, said: “Competing in a 24-hour race with the Audi means we have already covered the total distance we will do in the British GT Championship. The car is now no longer new to us, so we just need to focus on setting it up for the new 2016 Pirelli tyre. We have experience with Ryan (Ratcliffe) in Blancpain and the Dubai 24 Hours and that means he is on the front foot already.
“I believe his transition will be easy with a season of GT4 under his belt. He can just focus on learning the car and, from what I’ve seen of the Audi, it’s an easy car to adapt to. I’m sure Will (Moore) will be on the pace very quickly and I believe this season will be another competitive one for Optimum Motorsport. I expect to be in the mix from the very beginning and, who knows, we might even take home some silverware!”