Olly and his team mate Tommy Milner had a pretty faultless weekend on the bumpy and punishing streets of Baltimore’s Inner Harbour. They headed the GT class in both practice sessions, Olly took a stunning GT pole position yesterday and set a new fastest race lap record today in a thrilling and unpredictable two-hour race.
A victory would have indeed been the icing on the cake but, determined to not risk all and, with the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championships in mind, the duo settled instead for a fine second place. The result consolidates their hold on the championship lead by a clear 28 points ahead of their Corvette team mates Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen.
Tommy started the race in the No.4 Corvette C6.R from 14th place overall and did an exceptional job to avoid a first corner pile-up which affected many up and down the field, including the No.3 car. He turned the wheel over to his British team mate after 48 minutes of the race, and Olly picked up where Tommy had left off second place in class. Tucked in behind the winning GT Falken Porsche for virtually the whole race, the Anglo-American driver pairing drove with wise heads and the bigger picture in mind, despite there being two full course caution periods within the final 45 minutes which closed up the field substantially.
“We had a good car all weekend and, while we were obviously hoping to be able to pull off a victory, this is a positive result as far as points and championship positions are concerned,” said a delighted Olly. “To finish second was a pretty good deal for us and it all started with the job Tommy did at the beginning. He drove smart, on my qualifying tyres which probably weren’t very nice to drive on, and avoided all the first corner mash-up.
“Ten GT cars finished on the lead lap, helped by the caution periods, but I decided it would have been too big a risk to try and pass Bryan in the Falken car. I could catch him pretty quickly in green racing conditions but wasn’t sure I could make a pass stick and didn’t want to take myself out of the race. At the re-starts after the cautions we suffered from pick up while the Porsche didn’t so, while we were trying to switch the tyres back on, he was able to pull out a gap on me. Bryan drove really well so all credit to him and the team for their win today.
“The story of our season so far has been to keep the points ticking over and, while you’re leading a championship and everyone is chasing you hard, your aim has to be to maintain or – ideally – increase it. Everyone on the team is doing their job perfectly at the moment and that builds confidence going into the next races, both of which are longer and with more points at stake. We just need to keep our heads now!”
The next round of the American Le Mans Series will be a four-hour race at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, 15th September.