The six-hour American Le Mans Monterey proved to be a trying day for Oliver Gavin and Corvette Racing as their two Corvette C6.Rs finished fifth and seventh in the GT class. While the cars showed competitive speed, keeping a handle on the roller coaster Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit throughout a stint was a challenge for the Corvettes.
Oliver and his team mate Jan Magnussen finished fifth in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R, 15.9 seconds behind the winning No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 of Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long. The No. 62 Ferrari, third across the finish line, received a post-race penalty for avoidable contact, promoting Olly and Jan from sixth to fifth in the final results.
After starting second in the GT class, Olly held his position through the first 14 laps before he was overtaken by the No. 55 BMW. Within a few laps, he had slipped to seventh as his Corvette struggled to maintain grip on the track surface. After an early pit stop put the No. 4 Corvette out of sequence with the leaders, the Briton was back up to third shortly after the one-hour mark, only to slide back to seventh. That established the pattern of the race for the No. 4 Corvette.
“It was a very long day, and definitely not the result we were looking for,” Olly said. “It really didn’t pan out for us at all. We were never really in the fight and were always hanging out at the back in 4th 5th or 6th. We seemed to have a lot of tyre degradation and drop off for some reason and we can’t seem to get to the bottom of that at the moment as to why it happened here.”
Savvy pit strategy kept the Corvettes in contention, and Olly was running second after four hours of racing. However, he and Jan couldn’t maintain their position through long runs. “It was very frustrating not to be able to take the fight to BMW and be there at the finish as it looked so exciting but there wasn’t enough left in the tyres for us to do that,” continued Olly. “Well done to Joey and Dirk for the championship – they’ve driven very well all year and had an exceptional start which really set them up. These last few races they’ve been collecting the points and not doing anything crazy and just doing what you need to do to win a championship so they deserve that.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t continue the fight on to Petit Le Mans but we’ll be there to fight for the win. We’ve always had a competitive car there and I hope this is just a blip and we’ll be able to resume normal service at Atlanta.”
With thanks to Corvette Racing.