Ollie Hancock will make his 24H International Endurance Series debut this weekend when he teams up with Speedworks Motorsport and their Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for the 12H Italy-Mugello (March 13/14).
The 27-year-old, who shares the SP3 class-entered car with John Gilbert and SportscarGlobal.com columnist Devon Modell, is something of a specialist when it comes to last minute sportscar racing call-ups having recorded three British GT Championship podiums in as many races and models over the same number of years, including a memorable second overall at Donington Park last season.
The same can be said of his previous GT4 outings as a factory Lotus Evora driver in 2010 when Hancock notched up a victory, pole position and further podium in just two FIA European GT4 European Cup races.
And he’s hoping to continue that remarkable run this weekend at Mugello where the former Formula Renault BARC champion will be racing the Aston Martin for the very first time.
Unlike most long-distance championships the 24H Series splits its events in two, with the first four hours staged on Friday before the cars return to parc ferme until Saturday morning’s resumption.
But while the format might be a little different to what Hancock’s used to, Speedworks’ recent success at the season opener in Dubai – where the team finished second and third in class – means he’s feeling confident of a strong result.
“I’ve known the guys at Speedworks for a long time but the call came completely out of the blue yesterday,” he explained. “Fortunately, for whatever reason, I do seem to revel in these late call-ups driving unfamiliar machinery; perhaps that’s why they thought of me!
“But seriously, I think we’ve got a great chance of finishing on the podium at Mugello. I’ve never raced there but the team knows exactly what they’re doing, as demonstrated by the excellent results on debut in Dubai earlier this year. Plus in Devon and John I’ll have two first-rate team-mates who know the car inside out.
“My most recent sportscar experience is with the bigger GT3s, so switching to the smaller GT4 shouldn’t be an issue. These days I’m used to driving all sorts of racing cars and there will be plenty of time to get myself comfortable in the Aston. At the moment it’s a one-off but you never know how these things can pan out. I’m just really looking forward to it.”