Less than a week after his accident at Brands Hatch, Ollie Wilkinson will be back in action for the next round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup at the Nürburgring, thanks to an outstanding effort by JOTA to rebuild the team’s McLaren 720S GT3.
Wilkinson and fellow McLaren Factory Driver Ben Barnicoat had been on track for their maiden series race victory when contact took the #38 car out of the lead with less than five minutes remaining of last Sunday’s first Sprint Cup encounter. Hit off at Dingle Dell whilst doing around 110mph, Wilkinson cleared the barriers and came to rest on banking the other side.
Thanks to the inherent strength of the McLaren’s carbon fibre safety cell, Wilkinson was able to walk away unharmed from the accident. Despite sustaining extensive damage, the JOTA squad rebuilt the 720S GT3 from the ground up in just two days, in time to get the car transported to the Nürburgring for the next Endurance Cup round.
Prior to the squad’s near win in the UK, the full JOTA line-up of Wilkinson, Barnicoat and Rob Bell delivered an impressive seventh place finish in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa at the end of July. That result netted the trio their first Endurance Cup championship points of their debut season, placing them on the cusp of the top ten title fight.
The trio, however, will be heading to Germany with no prior running. Two hours of testing on Friday will present their first chance to shake down the JOTA McLaren ahead of Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying on Saturday, September 4th. Qualifying takes place at 08:30 on Sunday morning, setting the grid for the three-hour race starting at 14:45 – all aired live through the series website, Facebook and YouTube channel.
“It really is every credit to JOTA for getting the car rebuilt and ready to go to the Nürburgring, it’s a fantastic effort by every single member of the team,” said Ollie. “The fact that I’m able to get straight back into racing again is down to the strength of the car – I’ve said it already but my heartfelt thanks again to McLaren for building such a strong car that kept me safe.
“We are getting so close to scoring our first GT World Challenge Europe podiums and race wins that it can only be a matter of time. Whether we’ll be that close to the hunt in Germany might be a big ask this weekend, especially as we’ve had no time to even shakedown the car, but I have every confidence in the team, and in Rob and Ben, that we’ll do the best we can to bounce back from Brands Hatch.”
Source. Hazel PR/Photo. Xynamic