Top UK Ginetta Racing Team, Optimum Motorsport, makes its debut in the Competition102 GT4 European Series this weekend (14-16 August) at the iconic Nürburgring circuit in Germany, with a solo Ginetta G55 GT4 for returning Turkish racer, Salih Yoluc.
Yoluc successfully raced with Optimum throughout last year and in the early part of the 2015 season, taking the SP3 class victory in the Dubai 24 Hours with the Wakefield team. A race-winner in GT4, Yoluc showed on many occasions a flair for racing, with good performances in the MSA British Endurance Championship, and more notably the GT Cup series too.
Moving up to the SRO-run British GT Championship’s GT3 class for 2015 proved a challenging affair for the 29-year-old from Istanbul, and a series of unlucky incidents saw him have his race licence removed for three months; a period of reflection and understanding has followed and Yoluc is keen to get back on track, in every sense of the phrase.
With plans to contest the Blancpain Endurance Series event at the Nurburgring in September, Yoluc has decided to return ‘home’ and gain experience on the 2.83-mile GP circuit in familiar surroundings, namely an Optimum-prepared Ginetta G55 GT4. With several factors new this weekend, not least the Hankook tyres, the ES MOTOR-backed racer knows the Optimum team well and is sure to have a competitive car for the pair of 50-minute races on Sunday.
“The main idea is learn to track for the upcoming Blancpain Endurance Series round next month. Testing is limited on the GP Circuit, and I thought that this is a good chance to do it. Also, getting back to racing in a GT4 after some time made more sense than jumping straight into a GT3! Of course, we’ve not just come here for a glorified test; doing well in the race is always going to be the aim too!
Ensuring he is ready, and has a good understanding of the German track on this his first visit has been the foremost plan for Yoluc, and as the lone driver in the Optimum G55 this weekend, he’ll get a lot of opportunity on track to re-acclimatise to the world of motorsport.
Yoluc added: “The Nurburgring commands respect, and the GP circuit, while not the Nordschleife, is one of the most iconic circuits in Europe. I’ve never been there before, but I’ve done a lot of miles on the simulator, and all I can say is it's a fast flowing track, which is just how I like it. Ask me after I’ve been ‘on it’ for a few laps and then I will comment better! The simulator is great for getting the theory right; doing it behind the wheel is the key though!”
This weekend won’t be the first time that Yoluc has driven on his own; at Oulton Park’s GT Cup weekend last season the Turkish businessman drove by himself, taking a pole-position and a hard-earned victory in an Optimum Motorsport prepared Ginetta G55.
“Hopefully I can do something similar here as well,” remarked Yoluc. “It looks like I won’t be short of competition though!”
The Competition102 GT4 European Series weekend begins with a 60-minute free practice session on Friday (14th August) from 12:30pm, before the second session early on Saturday (15th August) morning at 07:30, with qualifying from 13:45. The first 50-minute GT4 race of the weekend is on Sunday (16th August) morning at 09:05, before the second and final race starts at 15:25. Please note, all times are British Summer Time (BST).
Live timing is available throughout the weekend, with live coverage of both races available on the series website: http://gt4series.com/