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GT World Challenge Europe

Optimum Commits to Endurance Cup with McLaren

McLaren 720S GT3 to make Endurance Cup debut with British squad Optimum Motorsport…

Photo: Optimum Motorsport

Optimum Motorsport has confirmed that it will contest SRO’s GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup with a McLaren 720S GT3, becoming the first team ever to do so.

The British outfit, which ran Aston Martins in British GT and International GT Open last year, will align with a new marque for its step up to the five-round championship.

McLaren factory drivers Joe Osborne and Rob Bell will share driving duties with Optimum regular Ollie Wilkinson, forming a Pro class lineup, while Bas Leinders will continue as team manager.

Wilkinson is also affiliated with McLaren having recently signed on as a Professional Driver, which is the second-highest rung in the manufacturer’s works driver system.

Optimum becomes the first team to run a McLaren full-time in GT World Challenge Europe (formerly Blancpain GT) since Garage 59 which contested the Endurance Cup with the now-retired 650S GT3 in 2018.

Since its global launch last year, the McLaren 720S GT3’s European appearances have been limited to British GT with Balfe Motorsport and GT Open with Teo Martin.

“I’m delighted to be competing at such a high level in 2020 and excited to join the McLaren Customer Racing family,” said Optimum team principal Shaun Goff.

“It has always been our aim to race in the GT World Challenge Europe in 2020, and I’m especially pleased to be working with McLaren and we have three great drivers in the line-up.

“Ollie joined us to race Ginettas in 2017 and after three seasons together, has already won races and titles and we believe he will win many more.

“We also welcome back Joe to the endurance championship. He’s a well-known quantity and always a great addition to any team.

“It’s also a privilege to have a driver the caliber of Rob Bell in completing such a strong Pro line-up.”

Optimum intends to announce further 2020 program plans at a later date. Last September, the team initially proposed a two-car program in GT World Challenge Europe.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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