It was a bad day at the office for Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin today as a potential Lime Rock podium finish was snatched from the grasp of he and his team mate Jan Magnussen through no fault of their own. The duo managed to claw the No. 4 Corvette C6R back into a points-paying position, but the Briton’s disappointment at the final result was deeply felt.
Magnussen and Olivier Beretta in the No. 3 Corvettte were running fourth and fifth respectively in the GT class when a melee occurred near the exit of the West Bend turn leading to the fast downhill Diving Turn. An LMPC prototype had contact with a Ferrari, and the pursuing pack of GT cars had nowhere to go. The No. 4 Corvette collided with the third-place BMW, and was in turn collected by the No. 3 Corvette. Both Corvettes sustained damage to their left front corners and went to the pits for repairs. The No. 18 LMPC was subsequently penalized for avoidable contact, but the Corvettes had already paid a high price.
“It was very frustrating and disappointing,” said Olly, “and I’m getting a bit bored of saying that after having had a number of events like that one after another. Sometimes it just goes like that.
“Today I think we were in with a shout for a podium result. I don’t think anybody can race the BMW equally and evenly as it’s so fast, but Jan’s misfortune after 20 laps in the race was just that – misfortune. An LMPC car turned Ed Brown around in the Patron Ferrari, the BMW No. 55 was the next on the scene, checked up and hit Ed Brown, and Jan was right behind the BMW and hit him while Olivier ran into the back of him. It was a chain reaction, a racing incident, and there was nothing that anyone could have done differently. When everyone’s that close together on a circuit like Lime Rock – where you’re all arriving on the scene pretty quickly – there’s not much space and you can’t take avoiding action.”
Both Corvettes were pretty badly damaged, as Olly explains. “We had to take ours back to the tent to get it fixed and have a new nose on it, and the No. 3 car had a front suspension change. After that we were 15-20 laps down and just running around to try and see if we could get some points in the end. We used the second part of the race to test a couple of things but our car was pretty badly beaten up at the rear so you never really know how much that’s affecting you.
“It was an uneventful stint for me, just trying to stay out of traffic and stay out of trouble. We did finish 10th and got a point, so that’s better than nothing. I just want to get out of here now and erase the memory of Lime Rock 2011 and move onto Mosport.”