Reigning British GT Championship GT4 champion Optimum Motorsport is set to make a mid-season manufacturer switch to McLaren, effective this weekend at the Silverstone 500.
Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson have been driving the PMW World Expo-backed Ginetta G55 GT4 so far this season, after winning the GT4 class championship last season.
However, the Shaun Goff-led team has decided to use the increasingly popular McLaren 570S GT4 for the remainder of the season.
The defending champions currently lie fourth in the standings, 22 points behind HHC Motorsport’s Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton.
“The move to McLaren is about Mike and I taking on a new challenge having won the title last year,” commented Johnson.
“We looked at various options for 2017 in the off-season, but nothing worthwhile came together. Then we got the chance to test the McLaren and we were immediately won over by it.
“We couldn’t believe what a different experience the McLaren gives to the Ginetta. It’s a very ‘easy’ car to drive quickly, whereas the Ginetta is more an out-and-out racer: hot, noisy, and on a knife-edge.
“A Ginetta would be intimidating to the uninitiated, but the McLaren is softer. I can see why gent drivers like it so much.
“Both the Ginetta and the McLaren have their merits and we’ll unquestionably miss our Ginetta at some circuits, but it’s time for us to see what we can do in another car.”
The drivers have only completed eight laps each in McLaren’s development car and will collect their car from the factory today (Monday).
“Collectively, we’ve a tremendous amount to learn in a very short period of time, but I trust Optimum will ensure the car is reliable, while Mike and I know we can mix it at the front in whatever car we drive,” added Johnson.
“A podium finish would be nice, but I think the first goal has to be to complete every lap of the three-hour race. That’s a feat we’ve never managed in previous years!”
Optimum’s switch increases the number of full-season McLaren GT4 chassis competing in the series to seven, with the Ginetta field reduced to six.
Track action at Silverstone gets underway on Saturday, with the blue riband three-hour race on Sunday.