British team Optimum Motorsport have grabbed the chance to earn an invitation to the 24-hour French endurance classic and will field an Audi R8 LMS GT3 for Joe Osborne and Flick Haigh in the 2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup.
With the winner of this year’s Michelin Le Mans Cup Teams’ title gaining a prized invite to the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, it’s easy to see Team Principal, Shaun Goff’s rationale to join the ELMS supporting series which takes in six of the world’s greatest circuits, including Monza, Circuit de la Sarthe (as a LM24 support race) and Spa.
“Having contested the Paul Ricard round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup in 2016, we felt the format really works well for our Am drivers. It’s part of a big package and is well promoted by the organisers.” Goff, said. “There is the lure of an entry to Le Mans if all goes well, but it’s made more appealing by our 24-hour endurance pedigree.”
The championship, which is centered around Bronze-graded Am drivers is now in its second season and as well as catering for the ever-popular GT3 cars has opened its doors to LMP3 prototypes in 2017.
Neither Osbourne nor Haigh are strangers to Optimum having both raced for the team in the CREVENTIC 24H Series.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity with Optimum Motorsport,” said Haigh. “I took a step back from wheel-to-wheel racing after I left Caterhams in 2013 and endurance racing is something I’ve loved and enjoyed immensely.
“Joe (Osborne) and I have worked together for a few years now. He is not only a friend but a great driver coach and we work well. I have a huge amount of respect for him, which I believe makes for a great driver pairing.”
Osborne added: “I’m really looking forward to getting this campaign underway. We visit some very cool circuits to drive in a GT3. Flick (Haigh) is currently driving better than ever in the Audi and is still improving. Optimum Motorsport is proving to engineer one of the fastest Audi R8 LMS GT3s out there, so bring on the fun.”