© Ryan Ratcliffe 2017
Produced by Abbott Designs Ltd
Optimum Motorsport Dealt A Cruel Blow While On Course
For 12h Italy-
Optimum Motorsport was the class of the field in the 2016 Creventic 24H Series powered by Hankook 12H Italy-
General testing on Thursday (17 March) revealed that an inter-
On such a fast, flowing circuit, Optimum Motorsport was shackled by its relative lack of power, but the team was quick to find a compromise that satisfied all three of its drivers – Joe Osborne, Flick Haigh and Ryan Ratcliffe – and this allowed it to utilise Friday’s (18 March) free practice session to simply scrub tyres and optimise its driver changes in preparation for qualifying and the 12H Italy-
Osborne was elected to qualify the #14 Audi R8 LMS GT3 and, while the 27-
The Code 60 was lifted with only enough time for a single flying lap and an enraged Osborne harnessed all of his anger to seal eighth on the grid with a 1m49.777s, and then continue moving up the order during the first 90 minutes of the once-
The black and orange Audi could be found in sixth position at the completion of lap one, but the order shifted incessantly and Osborne surged to second overall as rivals tangled and a brief Code 60 caused some to alter their strategies.
The final eight-
The lead was Optimum’s once again on lap 127 and Osborne did his utmost to keep the hard-
Osborne was eventually given some respite and responded by setting a new fastest lap – 1m50.201s – shortly before handing the reins to Haigh, who held her own out front and became evermore decisive when overtaking as her stint progressed.
In fact, Optimum Motorsport had almost two laps in hand when Welsh racer Ratcliffe took the wheel for his first outing of the day and some quick, yet controlled driving combined with slick pit stops ensured the team maintained a convincing lead.
That was until a gearbox problem left the #14 Audi stranded at pit entry with Haigh at the wheel and less than 90 minutes to run. Mechanics sprinted to retrieve the stricken car and, in a determined display, they quickly diagnosed the rectified the issue to get the car back out in second position and no more than one lap adrift of the leading #333 Renault RS01 GT3.
Ratcliffe replaced Haigh for what was supposed to be the final dash to the flag, but a fuel glitch brought the Optimum entry to a halt out on track, where it was collected by a fast-
Mercifully, both drivers involved in the spectacular high-
Devastated to have had the win snatched away in the dying embers of the race, Optimum Motorsport Team Principal, Shaun Goff said: “It was very painful to go out of the 12H Italy-
Optimum Motorsport’s next outing is in the British GT Championship curtain-
For more information on Optimum Motorsport and its racing activities, please visit the official