2016 CHAMPION! – News and views from Oliver Gavin

Corvette Racing Petit Le Mans 2016The story of the Petit Le Mans weekend

  • Oliver Gavin and Corvette Racing teammate Tommy Milner won the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Driver’s Championship in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta on Saturday 1 October, 2016
  • Sharing driving duties in the ten-hour classic with both Milner and Marcel Fassler, Gavin needed to finish seventh or better to claim the title and duly went four places better with a third place
  • Gavin, Milner and Chevrolet also sweep Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

Gavin says:

Going down to the wire and winning the championship

“It’s fantastic to clinch the championship after a long, intense and hard fought season against really strong competition; so very satisfying. Yesterday we claimed every championship we possibly could, the Manufacturers for Chevrolet, the Team for Corvette Racing, The drivers for Tommy and I, as well as the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. I call that a good day!”

On starting seventh and working through the field

“We knew coming into the weekend we had an 11-point buffer in the championship and we only needed to finish seventh to clinch the title. The track was very different from when we tested a month ago and that had us a little concerned at the start of the weekend but we worked away with the car. Qualifying was super-close and Tommy did an ace job to get within three-tenths of pole, we ended up seventh. We knew we had a good race car and that we are also good at tuning the car during the race to get us into a good performance window. We knew if we could just do our usual deal and execute, that we’d be in a good spot to clinch the championship.

“In the race our car was tricky and edgy in the first stint but then we made some changes and Tommy did an excellent job to work up the order. When he handed it over to me we were running third.  The #67 Ford started fast and was running very strongly with Richard Westbrook at the wheel but ran into trouble three hours in.

“Then the mindset changed slightly for us. It went from being cautious in traffic and making high-percentage moves to going all out for the win. We continued to adjust the car and set up and I passed the Ferrari for the lead just before the four-hour mark, pulling out a ten second lead.”

Before taking the podium and title at Petit Le Mans

“Our race ebbed and flowed for the next few hours. There was a long caution period when the track had to be patched up, Marcel was in the car. He continued after that but then had a small off at T1 and got quite a lot of grass in the radiator. We lost some time but we were still in the hunt.

“It came down to a straight fight between the #62 Ferrari, #66 Ford and us for the win. The Ferrari had a little too much pace and got the win. The #66 and I fought it out for the last two spots on the podium. We battled for the last seven laps, very close, I did get by the #66 but then we had contact and I ended up off track. I struggled to clean my tyres up after that and the #66 got away.

“Third was still a good result and capped our season off nicely.”

Credit to the Chevrolet Corvette team and thanks to the crew for the hard work and dedication

“Corvette Racing has done an amazing job all year and there have been many stand out performances by lots of different people. My teammate Tommy has driven fantastically all year, Chuck and Reed (My Engineers) have made some fantastic calls in the races both with the car and the strategy.

“The pitstops have been awesome all year, led by Brian Hoye (Crew Chief). These stops have literally turned a number of the races from being a fifth-sixth place to a podium or a win! World class.”

And so to the off season…

“Well there will be the usual off season testing and maybe a small holiday with my family. There will be some events with Chevrolet as well, both in Europe and the USA. Before I know it It’ll will be January, I’ll be on the plane to the Daytona 24H test and the 2017 season will be GO!”

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