Optimum make McLaren GT3 switch with Australian duo Berry and Foster
Optimum Motorsport’s domestic GT3 programme switches to McLaren machinery in 2020 when Australian Pro/Am duo Martin Berry and Nick Foster make their Intelligent Money British GT Championship debuts.
The Wakefield-based team won senior class titles with Aston Martin in 2018 and ’19, and has already announced plans to run the manufacturer’s GT4 cars this year. However, its GT3 focus has shifted to the 720S, which scored a maiden victory at Donington in September courtesy of Balfe Motorsport.
The news comes one week after Optimum – now a McLaren Customer Racing team – announced a GT World Challenge Europe programme with the same manufacturer.
Its Pro/Am line-up boasts impressive pedigree despite being unfamiliar to some British GT fans.
Berry began racing GT cars three years ago when 10 wins from 13 starts helped him wrap up the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific title. A Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup class podium followed last season after graduating to GT3 competition, and now the Melbourne-born, Singapore-resident is looking forward to testing himself across the UK.
“I am hugely excited to be competing in British GT for the first time, a championship with such a deep history and across some incredibly iconic tracks,” he said. “I am fortunate to be partnering up with the very talented and fellow Aussie Nick Foster, together with the support of the fantastic team at Optimum Motorsport as we take on the championship in the very capable McLaren 720S GT3.”
Meanwhile, Foster joins the British GT fold following several successful seasons racing with a myriad of manufacturers around the world. An Intercontinental GT Challenge race winner with Ferrari, Foster also spent 2019 racing an Audi in Europe and is now gearing up for next weekend’s Bathurst 12 Hour at the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG. He was also Blancpain GT Series Asia runner-up two years ago and currently campaigns an LMP2 car in the Asian Le Mans Series.
“I’m very excited to be joining Optimum Motorsport and to be racing the McLaren 720S in the British GT Championship with my good mate Martin Berry,” he said. “It’s a very strong championship, so I’m expecting an exciting year ahead. Optimum has a great track record in this championship, and I’ve worked with the guys once already in testing, so I know it will be good. McLaren has great pedigree on a global stage, so there is a lot to look forward to.
“Martin had a steep learning curve last year in GT3, but we’ve done a couple of events now together and he has made tremendous progress. There’s a lot for us both to learn in a new team and a new championship. There’s the ‘old school’ tracks – something I’m very used to in Australia – with limited run-off, big kerbs and plenty of undulation. I’m looking forward to cracking on!”
Oulton Park hosts British GT’s opening round on Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (April 11 & 13). Reserve your tickets here.