Category Archives: TUSC

Pre-Monterey Grand Prix news and views from Oliver Gavin

sm_2RPR6822HEADLINES

  • Oliver Gavin heads to the historic and beloved Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Round 4 of the 2016 WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship
  • Gavin and teammate Tommy Milner lead the championship on 105 points
  • The Corvette Racing pairing hold a “valuable” 18-point lead over BMW and Porsche
  • Gavin hopes for another “strong, consistent” performance to consolidate his points lead
  • New tyre from Michelin adds another variable to the Monterey Grand Prix

    Gavin says…

    On his and teammate Tommy Milner’s early run of success…

    “Tommy (Milner) and I are working really well together and we’ve had a great start to the 2016 WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship. In 2015 we had pace and some really good races, but nothing ran for us, except the 24 Hours of Le Mans, of course! We’ve continued working hard as a unit – not just Tommy and I, but the entire Corvette Racing crew – and things have fallen into place this year.”

    On the legendary Laguna Seca…

    “The Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is one of my favourite races on the WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship calendar. The track is very challenging, partly because of the low-grip surface, the width of the circuit, the shape and profile of the corners and the elevation changes. It all makes for excellent racing and a great spectacle.”

    On the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and Laguna Seca…

    “I think we’ve demonstrated that the 2016-spec Corvette C7.R is a competitive package on all different racetracks, so we are quietly confident going to Laguna Seca. The major difference this weekend is that everyone has new tyres from Michelin and this could shake things up. These are the tyres that we will run at Le Mans and then for the rest of the 2016 WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship, so we have to hope the new rubber suits our car the best. You’re never 100 per cent sure until you’re out on track against everybody else.”

    On the points situation and the objectives for the 2016 Monterey Grand Prix…

    “The start to 2016 has been almost perfect for the #4 Corvette and we intend to stay in the groove this weekend at Laguna Seca. The points lead we currently have is very valuable and a great foundation for the rest of the season. We just need another strong, consistent performance to keep that championship scoreboard ticking over.”

    For more information on Oliver Gavin and his racing activities, please ‘like’ his Facebook page or follow @olivergavin on Twitter.

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    Post-Grand Prix at Long Beach news and views from Oliver Gavin

    sm_2RPN1054HEADLINES

  • Oliver Gavin takes second in GTLM
  • Result increases Gavin’s championship lead to 18 points
  • Gavin cruelly denied victory after being spun out by rival Porsche with two laps to go

    STORY OF THE RACE

  • A rollercoaster race
  • Fairly uneventful start for Gavin, but puncture intervenes and brings fuel consumption to the fore for the #4 Corvette
  • Track position improved when rivals penalised for pit lane and track infringements
  • Full course caution 30 minutes from the end puts Gavin on a strong footing for the race victory
  • Assault by the #912 Porsche with two laps to go denies Gavin and Tommy Milner what would have been a hard-earned win.

    Gavin says…

    On his opening stint…

    “I started the car from P4 and had a fairly uneventful first lap. The Porsches ahead were clearly fast, but I managed to overhaul the BMW and had started to pull away from the sister #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.”

    On the pain of the puncture…

    “Having had a fairly decent start, the car became inconsistent after about 30 minutes. I could see from the monitoring system that the left-front was down on pressure and it was on the next lap that the team came over the radio to confirm the puncture.

    “The early stop really screwed us. We needed to complete another seven laps to be in the fuel window and fuel-saving from then until the end of the race would seriously effect our pace.”

    On the full course caution…

    “As we were short on fuel, we really needed a full course yellow and luck was on our side. Our rivals were given penalties for speeding in the pit lane and the BMW had been penalised for hitting an LMPC car, so we somehow found ourselves in P1 with a 15-second lead, despite Tommy’s fuel-saving. So when an LMPC car ground to a halt, it was just what we needed.”

    On the incident with the #912 Porsche

    “At the restart, a sprint to the flag. Tommy did a great job when the track went green, pulling a gap on the sister #3 Corvette that was holding the Porsches back. Unfortunately, Antonio (Garcia) had an off that let the Porsches through and they were soon on our tail.

    “Then, with two laps to go, the #912 car made a desperate lunge and drilled the back of our car. Round we both went, leaving Nick Tandy in his sister #911 Porsche to slip through for the lead and the win. It was a very frustrating way for the race to finish for all on our car. Saying that, second was still a very strong finish considering everything that happened.”

    On the Corvette Racing team’s performance and his championship lead…

    “After our early setback, P2 is a good result for the team. We maximised everything and everybody should be really proud of what they achieved. Tommy and I have got off to a near-perfect start this season and, while there will no doubt be a few twists and turns along the way, we are sitting in a good position right now in terms of the championship.”

    For more information on Oliver Gavin and his racing activities, please ‘like’ his Facebook page or follow @olivergavin on Twitter.

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    Pre-Grand Prix at Long Beach news and views from Oliver Gavin

    sm_2RPR5635a

    HEADLINES

  • Oliver Gavin returns to the USA for the start of the “regular” WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship
  • Line-ups return to the two-driver format, with Gavin partnered by long-term teammate, Tommy Milner
  • First outing since the Daytona-Sebring double victory for the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
  • Gavin and Milner looking to build on their lead in the championship standings
  • LONG BEACH ESSENTIALS

  • Race lasting just 100 minutes presents little room for error
  • The tight, concrete wall-lined Long Beach Street Circuit demands precision
  • Single pit stop and driver-change adds to the intensity
  • Gavin elected to qualify the #4 Corvette and start Saturday’s (16 April) race
  • Gavin hoping for better fortune than in 2015, when a first corner incident denied them a top result

    Gavin says…

    On his expectations for the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach…

    “After starting the 2016 WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship with wins at Daytona and Sebring, everybody will be expecting great things from us. The reality is that Long Beach is such a unique challenge at only 100 minutes in duration that everything has to be perfect if you are to deliver a win. Mistakes are punished hard and good fortune is needed to get to victory lane.”

    After 36 hours of racing in two events, what are the specific challenges of the Grand Prix at Long Beach?

    “One pit stop, one driver-change and a tight street circuit means everybody has to be on their game from start to finish. Taking on fuel and changing tyres will take around 25 seconds and switching the drivers will take at least that amount of time, so the way Tommy (Milner) and I swap is going to be crucial. On-track we have to stay clean, as recovering from any misfortune is almost impossible, as we found in 2015.”

    On developments to the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R…

    “There aren’t really any major developments for this race, only minor things. The biggest change for us is a refuelling flow rate restriction imposed through the championship’s Balance of Performance (BoP). As time spent stationary in the pits during a single stop is critical for track position, it could be a significant obstacle for us this coming weekend.”

    On the competition at Long Beach…

    “Last year, Porsche was very strong on the Long Beach Street Circuit and Ferrari seemed to have a well-balanced car too, so I am sure they will be the ones to beat again. Traction out of the final corner is critical and Porsche seemed to master that in 2015. Ford will be keen to have a good showing after poor results at Daytona and Sebring, so I won’t rule it out, but we’ve had the winning car so far this season and I hope to be in the mix once again.”

    For more information on Oliver Gavin and his racing activities, please visit the official www.olivergavin.com website, ‘like’ his Facebook page or follow @olivergavin on Twitter.

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    News and views from Oliver Gavin: 12 Hours of Sebring

    sm_2RPN2260HEADLINES

  • Sensational victory for Oliver Gavin and the #4 Corvette
  • A brutal race in extremely testing conditions
  • Fiercely competitive in GTLM wih relentless nose-to-tail tussles
  • Race stopped with the clock ticking at the 2h50m mark due to severe rain and lightning
  • Storming drive by Olly’s regular teammate, Tommy Milner, to battle to the front in both parts of the race
  • Victory looked unlikely as Marcel Fassler had a series of minor offs while fighting the worst of the conditions at the 6h30m mark
  • Gavin takes a commanding points lead in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup (NAEC)

    THE STORY OF THE RACE

  • Six GTLM cars on the lead lap at the flag
  • Margin of victory of 2.8s
  • The #4 Corvette completed 235 racing laps and 879 miles
  • Driver running order: Marcel Fassler, Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner
  • Changeable conditions tested the cars and drivers to the limit and beyond
  • Big incident involving the sister #3 Corvette and rival #911 Porsche helps the #4 Corvette’s cause
  • Gavin drives the crucial third stint to regain a lap and set up Milner’s storming drive to victory

    Gavin says…

    On a welcome but unexpected victory…

    “Before the weekend and looking at the Balance of Performance (BoP) restrictions that were imposed on us, as well as the opposition’s testing pace, victory looked unlikely.

    “It’s a testament to the experience, quality and strength and depth of the Corvette Racing team that it has risen to these challenges, whether they be engineering, conditions or strategy-related.”

    “We had a superbly prepared racecar and, together with great work from Michelin, we made all the right calls.”

    On the weather conditions…

    “On the 16 occasions I have raced at Sebring International Raceway, I have never seen rain, so this was a complete first for me. It was a challenge for everyone!

    “IMSA has to be given credit for learning lessons from last year’s Petit Le Mans and handling this race so well. They made the right decisions at the right times and, while the track was treacherous, they gauged when it was and when it wasn’t raceable.”

    On the #4 Corvette’s trips across the Floridian scenery at the midway point…

    “Marcel (Fassler) was unlucky to take over the car at such a tricky time, as the track was drying, but it was never really clean cut between slicks and wet weather tyres. The track was treacherous to say the least and he did well to avoid a bigger off than he had, although it was a little alarming to see the car driving around with the course markers stuck to the front. We were lucky that it didn’t overheat and damage the engine.”

    On Tommy Milner’s contribution to the win…

    “Tommy was absolutely brilliant. In the first session, he hauled the car up into first place, until the rain came and shuffled the pack. He then had to deal with the race stoppage and taking a difficult restart. When I handed the car to him with three hours to go, there was still a lot to do, as we were fourth, but on the lead lap. He handled the darkness well and raced the competition effectively to take the car back to the front, despite several high-pressured restarts. He earned us the win.”

    On his Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup chances…

    “It’s very satisfying to be leading the championship so convincingly. We are hitting all of our objectives as a team and the Corvette Racing family is a happy place to be at the moment. The team thrives on the challenges of endurance racing and that can be seen, not just in these first two rounds of 2016, but our 24 Hours of Le Mans win from last year and our record over the past two seasons. For sure, we won’t rest on our laurels, but it is a very strong position to be in.”

    For more information on Oliver Gavin and his racing activities, please visit the officialwww.olivergavin.com website, ‘like’ his Facebook page or follow @olivergavin on Twitter.

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    Gavin stays afloat in titanic battle with the elements to reach the Petit Le Mans podium

    Corvette Racing PLM 2015For Oliver Gavin, the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship concluded with a big result in Petit Le Mans at a rain-lashed Road Atlanta circuit (2-3 October).

    The final round of the TUDOR Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (NAEC) encompassed many twists and turns and enthralling on-track fights, but the ten-hour enduro was dominated by a battle of titanic proportions with the elements.

    Simply surviving was a challenge in itself, but Gavin and his Corvette Racing teammate Tommy Milner stayed afloat and rounded-out the season on the third step of the winners’ rostrum.

    Gavin arrived in Georgia in the knowledge that he has been re-signed to race for the factory Corvette Racing team for a 15th consecutive season  in 2016 and the five-time Petit Le Mans winner qualified at the front of the GTLM grid with a time of 1m31.685s.

    The British ace fom Yardley Hastings, Northamptonshire also took the start of the ten-hour endurance race on Saturday (3 October)and spent the early laps trading places with the #24 Team RLL BMW Z4 of Lucas Luhr when, with almost zero visibility due to failing windscreen wipers, he overcooked it into Turn 1 during the second hour.

    While he suffered a significant time-loss, he was fortunate to emerge from a brush with the barriers with only a damaged wing mirror, and he made use of the TUDOR Championship’s wave-by system to recover his deficit while behind the Safety Car.

    Lap after lap, Gavin relied on all of his circuit knowledge, accumulated over 15 years of racing at Road Atlanta, to navigate his way through the disorientating spray.

    The race was eventually red-flagged due to the ever-deteriorating conditions. Rivers flowed across the track and rainwater pooled in the hollow between Turns 4 and 5 and other low-lying sectors and, while the race was resumed after a relatively brief interval, there was no let-up in the rain and standing water remained an issue.

    Minor cosmetic repairs were required in the pits and Gavin and Milner led the way on occasion as fuel and tyre strategies played out in the continuously fluctuating conditions, until a decision was taken to cut the race short as the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R held third position in the ultra-competitive GTLM division.

    Having bookended the 2015 season with podiums in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Petit Le Mans, Gavin said: “It’s certainly nice to be back on the podium, although I would have liked to have stood on the top step of the rostrum and, if the race had been halted 25 minutes earlier, we would have been up there!

    “There were so many twists and turns in the race, but the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R performed in all conditions. The weather fluctuated massively throughout and there were many times when it was impossible to drive and you had to question whether or not the race should be abandoned.”

    Gavin added: “The waves of rain kept sweeping through and it was a huge challenge for everybody, including the officials, who had to manage a race that was so critical in determining the outcome of championships. In my eyes the race should never have been restarted after the red flag, as the conditions were as bad or worse than when it was halted. It made no sense and I think IMSA has to look at the decisions made in this instance, with the view of improving their procedures for 2016.

    “The right decision to end the race early was taken and the look of relief on many of the drivers’ faces was very telling. It felt like you had survived something and you saw many very experienced racers coming unstuck. I’m delighted to have achieved pole and come away with a third – it’s well deserved. However, all eyes are forward and Tommy (Milner) and I will take this result into the off-season and focus on 2016.”

    Gavin now heads across the Pacific Ocean for the second instalment of the 2015 Australian V8 Supercars PIRTEK Enduro Cup – the Supercheap Autos Bathurst 1000 (10-11 October) on the legendary Mount Panorama circuit.

    For more information on Oliver Gavin and his racing activities, please visit the official www.olivergavin.com website, ‘like’ his Facebook page or follow @olivergavinon Twitter.

    Also posted in United SportsCar Championship | Leave a comment

    Oliver Gavin confirmed for Corvette Racing’s 2016 line-up ahead of Petit Le Mans and Bathurst 1000

    Corvette Racing PLM 2015

    It has been confirmed that five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Oliver Gavin, will remain with the factory Corvette Racing team for a 15th consecutive year in 2016.

    The announcement comes as Gavin readies himself for the concluding part of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (1-3 October) – as well as the second instalment of the Australian V8 Supercars PIRTEK Enduro Cup – the Supercheap Autos Bathurst 1000 (10-11 October) on the legendary Mount Panorama circuit.

    Gavin is synonymous with Corvette Racing; the Yardley Hastings, Northamptonshire resident first joined the Pratt and Miller ranks in 2002 and it has been a lucrative partnership, as Gavin has gone on to win the world’s greatest motor race, the Le Mans 24 Hours, on no fewer than five occasions and achieve four American Le Mans Series (ALMS) titles with the beloved Velocity Yellow sportscars.

    Young American Tommy Milner, rapid Spaniard Antonio Garcia, and experienced head Jan Magnussen, will also remain within the team’s driver line-up for the duration of 2016, when Corvette Racing launches another attack on the United SportsCar Championship and Le Mans with the striking Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.

    “I’m delighted to be back with Corvette Racing for my 15th year,” said Gavin. “It has been an amazing career with the team, and we’re looking to build on the last couple of seasons with the Corvette C7.R. We were able to win the biggest three events in endurance racing this year. The goal is to build on that and repeat that success next year.

    “The continuity of our driver line-up is fantastic. We have a great mix of youth and experience. It shows with the successes that we’ve had – the championships and race wins – that the core four drivers work well together. There is a transparency back and forth between all four of us – what we see on the track, what we’re working on engineering-wise, what our rivals are doing and so forth. We share all that information and it makes us better as a whole.”

    This comes just before the curtain falls on the 2015 TUDOR Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (NAEC) and it’s the 10-hour Petit Le Mans race on the undulating Road Atlanta circuit in Braselton, Georgia (1-3 October) that has the honour of hosting the much-anticipated season finale.

    Gavin will vie for his sixth Petit Le Mans win and, as the NAEC is still within reach for him and teammate Milner, there is a keen desire to return to victory lane this weekend.

    “I won my fifth Le Mans 24 Hours this year, and I’d very much like to win Petit Le Mans for the sixth time to close the 2015 season,” said Gavin. “This race is never easy. A lot of that is down to the layout of the track, which is very fast and challenging. There are a number of places where the elevation rises and falls, and the camber of the track falls away in certain spots.

    “The considerable traffic and racing into night only adds to the challenge. Traditionally Corvette Racing has excelled at endurance events – our record this year at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans is an example. The Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup is still very much in play for Tommy and I. It’s an important championship and an achievement we would gladly take.”

    Once the sun sets on the TUDOR Championship, Gavin’s bi-continental racing programme will take him across the Pacific Ocean for the Supercheap Autos Bathurst 1000.

    The Hire A Hubby-backed Gavin embarked on his second consecutive full-time Australian V8 Supercars PIRTEK Enduro Cup campaign in last month’s Sandown 500 and heads back ‘down under’ for ‘Australia’s great race’ on the intimidating Mount Panorama racetrack.

    Gavin became the first international driver since Frank Biela in 1989 to finish on the podium on his V8 Supercars debut in last year’s edition of the Bathurst 1000 and it’s an achievement that ranks highly on the British ace’s résumé.

    “Last year’s Bathurst  1000 was an unbelievable race that had absolutely everything a fan could ever want,” said Gavin. “It was a high drama, nail-biter of a race where so many people had a shout of victory entering the final hour and Nick (Percat) ultimately produced an amazing couple of laps that featured some phenomenal passing moves to get us a podium, while we all worried about running out of fuel in the pits.

    “It was incredible to go to ‘The Mountain’, race a V8 Supercar and stand on the podium on my first attempt and it is without a doubt one of the highlights of my career, especially considering how competitive V8 Supercars is and how difficult it is to get on the grid in the first place.”

    Gavin added: “I’m pretty sure this year’s Bathurst 1000 won’t be as eventful, but I’m encouraged with how competitive the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Holden VF Commodore was at Sandown. We were behind the curve with car setup due to some technical issues, but, come Sunday’s race, we were very competitive, running well inside the top ten. We have a few little upgrades for Bathurst and I hope we can maximise our potential there. Nick and I are hugely motivated and I’ve stayed switched on to everything that’s going on down under so I don’t have much catching up to do when I arrive.”

    For more information on Oliver Gavin and his racing activities, please visit the official www.olivergavin.com website, ‘like’ his Facebook page or follow @olivergavinon Twitter.

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    Steering clevis issue denies Gavin Aussie V8 top six finish, as he focuses on TUDOR at CotA

    Practice 1A steering issue brought an end to a potential top six finish in the Australian V8 Supercars PIRTEK Enduro Cup at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 (11-13 September) for Hire A Hubby-backed Oliver Gavin, who now refocuses his attentions to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s outing at the Circuit of the Americas (CotA) with Corvette Racing (18-20 September).

    Jumping straight into free practice on Friday (11 September), Gavin and his young gun teammate, Nick Percat, were chasing a vibration in their Triple Eight-built Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Commodore throughout the day.

    Nonetheless, the pair, who took a podium at Bathurst last year, continued on in earnest and fettled the setup on their V8 Supercar ahead of qualifying the following day (12 September), where a combined effort in both the co-driver and main driver races would see them line-up on the fifth row in tenth for the start of the 161 lap race on Sunday (13 September). 

    Gavin would take the start and, aware of the responsibility of getting to the end of the endurance race, the Hire A Hubby-backed driver jumped two of his Aussie rivals at the start before the reached Turn 1 to run in a solid eighth position, as the field began to settle in. 

    With limited run-off areas at Sandown, Gavin kept his Commodore within the white lines and remained firmly inside the top ten and attacking the drivers in front, climbing to seventh and running as top international driver against the likes of Alex Buncombe and Sébastien Bourdais, before a steering issue saw the Brit leave the track at Turn 1 and run wide. 

    A severe vibration from the front right saw Gavin crawl back to the pits, where the team worked tirelessly to fix the problem and get the car back out on track, but the decision was taken to retire the car. 

    “It was great to be back racing at Sandown alongside Nick (Percat) in the V8 Supercar championship,” said Gavin. “Our test day at Winton in the lead up to the weekend went pretty well. We had a bit of weather and some minor issues with the car, but I got myself back into it. Practice and qualifying seemed to race by, as the co-drivers are allocated 30-minutes, so, consequently, when it comes round for your qualifying race, you’re sitting in the car thinking you’ve not done too many laps for a race that determines where your teammate starts. I felt my qualifying race went pretty well. I was a little gun shy at the start and didn’t make a particularly good start, but from there I was then trying to keep myself out of trouble and get to the end to get more of an understanding of the car and championship ahead of the race on Sunday. I felt that by the end of it I had got to grips with the car, as I set my fastest lap on the final lap.

    “Nick did his qualification race on Saturday afternoon and did very well, overcoming some straight line speed issues with his performance to finish 10th for the race on Sunday, where I was able to get a good start, jumping two positions by the time we reached Turn 1. I was then able to gap the guys behind and was one of the fastest cars out on track, but on lap 16, as I turned in at the apex the front right steering clevis failed. I pulled into the garage and the guys jumped straight onto the car trying to fix it, but other complications with other issues got in the way. I was sent back out again to complete some laps to see how the car was, where we realised the car was still badly damaged. We then run out of time to complete the minimum number of laps and the decision was made to retire the car. 

    Gavin continued: “It was one of those weekends where we showed plenty of potential and car speed, but we kept having those little issues. Sometimes that is how weekends go and we are in a reasonable position going into Bathurst with our tyre bank. A rather silver lining to a dark cloud, but it is great to be back driving with Nick and the LDM team, who worked their socks off on the car all weekend.”

    Gavin is now set to traverse the Pacific Ocean for the penultimate race on the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship calendar at Circuit of the Americas (CotA), a state-of-the-art facility, set in the rolling hills just outside of downtown Austin, Texas. 

    The circuit, constructed in 2012, is designed to challenge the world’s most exacting competitors and its counter-clockwise configuration, which takes advantage of the naturally undulating landscape, is dominated by an intimidating 133-foot climb up to Turn 1. 

    Austin, meanwhile, is perhaps the coolest and most diverse cities in America and is fast becoming the ultimate motor racing destination due to its electric nightlife and authentic, finger-lickin’ Texan cuisine. 

    However, Gavin is desperately craving the sweet taste of victory after a luckless TUDOR Championship campaign and Corvette Racing will continue its big push entering the final throes of the 2015 season. 

    “It’s always one of the best weekends of the year coming to the Circuit of the Americas (CotA), as it has some of the best facilities and is a track that us drivers get a great sense of satisfaction from,” said Gavin. “It’s a high speed track with great amount of grips and we always enjoy coming here, but we will see how the new balance of performance plays out. Porsche have a 20kg weight adjustment for this weekend and we will trying our hardest to get the best result for the team.”

     For more information on Oliver Gavin and his racing activities, please visit the official www.olivergavin.com website, ‘like’ his Facebook page or follow @olivergavinon Twitter.

    Posted in TUSC | Leave a comment

    VIR disappointment set aside as Gavin changes tack for V8 Supercars return

    Corvette Racing VIR 2015The Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) produced more disappointment for Oliver Gavin (22-23 August) and the British ace is now switching gears prior to a second attack on the Australian V8 Supercars PIRTEK Enduro Cup. 

    The way the weekend at VIR played out was all too familiar for the Corvette Racing team. It was evident from the outset of free practice that the Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs would be no match for Porsche and Ferrari due to an apparent disparity in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s Balance of Performance (BoP).

    Even so, the Pratt & Miller-led team’s ‘never say die’ attitude resulted in experiments with contrasting aero configurations in an attempt to reduce its deficit, but Gavin and teammate Tommy Milner could only muster the seventh fastest time in qualifying.

    “We knew from the start of the weekend that it was going to be difficult, so we experimented with setups,” said Gavin. “Each car went in different directions with the aero balance and we took a high downforce, high drag configuration, but the less downforce, low-drag setup appeared to be the best compromise over an entire lap, so that’s how we decided to race.”

    Gavin took the start of the 2h40m race on Sunday (23 August) and spent the majority of his stint trading places with the #25 Team RLL BMW Z4 in the hands of Bill Auberlen in a physical, yet fair fight over sixth position.

    Gavin soon got the better of his BMW rival and sat in the wake of the #3 Corvette shared by Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia and the final phase of his stint, while relatively straightforward, was punctuated by a spin for Auberlen when the Californian attempted a retaliatory lunge at Turn 1.

    “I had fun during my stint in the car while in a race with Jan (Magnussen) and Bill (Auberlen),” said Gavin. “We could race the BMWs well and I knew it would be important to get passed Auberlen as quickly as possible, aware that the #25 car is Corvette Racing’s chief rival for the GTLM title, so I towed up behind and made a move. There was a lot of chopping and changing and we a bit of rubbing and he eventually overcooked a lunge at Turn 1 to spin out in front of me for the second time this season! Thankfully, I missed him and I basically saw out the rest of my stint behind Jan, mindful of the fact that we were tight on fuel and had to eke out each stint.”

    Milner took the reins and undercut Garcia in the #3 Corvette, holding fourth with the pace to maintain position and manage his five-second gap over those behind, although a slow fuel-flow rate saw the #4 car lose positions in the stops and it was up to Milner to bridge the gap with some committed driving.

    Pushing hard, the American racer had a half-spin at Turn 3, but showed good car control to avoid losing track position, but his pace was compromised thereafter and he would relinquish a place to Garcia before making a third splash and dash with one lap to go, contrary to the team’s original strategy.

    An eighth place finish was the end result and Gavin said: “Tommy pushed really hard and just got caught out, but he managed to continue on his way. We hadn’t saved enough fuel throughout the race and that necessitated another fuel stop with one lap remaining, resigning us to eighth. It’s very frustrating for everybody at Corvette Racing because everything seems stacked against us and, no matter how hard we try, sixth or seventh is the best we can hope for at the moment. We’ll be back fighting at Circuit of the Americas and I hope we have more on-track battles, this time for the podium places.”

    Gavin is now changing tack ahead of a return to the Australian V8 Supercars grid for the three-part PIRTEK Enduro Cup.

    The Northamptonshire resident has signed to race the Repair Management Australia Holden VF Commodore alongside Nick Percat in the Wilson Security Sandown 500 (11-13 September), Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 (8-11 October) and Gold Coast 600 (23-25 October).

    Percat and Gavin raced together in last year’s PIRTEK Enduro Cup and, having finished eighth in the final points classification and claimed third in Australia’s great race, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on the legendary Mount Panorama circuit, there are high hopes for the forthcoming 2015 campaign.

    “I’m already getting my head into gear for my return to Australian V8 Supercars and the Sandown 500, as it requires a completely different approach to what I’m used to,” said Gavin. “The Holden is a completely different beast and you need a very different driving style. I’m going from a car with a paddle shift, traction control, pretty good aero and tyre, to a car with a sequential manual gearbox, relatively little downforce and slightly more power. I’m in the process of switching to V8 Supercar mode and I’ll be trying to use muscle memory from Sandown, Bathurst and Gold Coast last year to rediscover that rhythm I found.”

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    Oliver Gavin primed for TUDOR Championship podium push at VIR

    Corvette Racing Road America 2015Oliver Gavin is primed for a podium finish in the Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (21-23 August), mindful that such a result could go some way to bolstering Corvette Racing’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship title bid. 

    Corvette Racing’s seventh outing of the 2015 TUDOR Championship at Road America (7-9 August) produced some enthralling and adrenaline-fuelled on-track fights and concluded with Gavin going toe-to-toe with Lucas Luhr’s Team RLL BMW Z4.

    However, the 2h40m race at the historic Wisconsin circuit never yielded the hoped for results and Gavin was left feeling a little frustrated in seventh position, having been unable to threaten the leading Porsches and Ferraris for the GTLM podium.

    The sister #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia currently sits atop the GTLM points table and the #4 car driven by Gavin and teammate Tommy Milner will be playing a supporting role for the remainder of the 2015 season in a drive to solidify Corvette Racing’s title bid.

    Gavin is determined to bounce back from the disappointment of Road America and do the best job possible for the Pratt & Miller-led Corvette Racing team and, while he expects Ferrari to have a potent package at VIR – a 3.27mile white-knuckle ride near Danville, Virginia – the Briton is prepared to pounce if an opportunity to reach the podium presents itself.

    “I really hope the championship organisers have assessed the performance differentials between the different marques so everybody in GTLM has a shot at the top, but I think Ferrari will be a force to be reckoned with this weekend, as the 458 Italia is well suited to the circuit’s demands,” said Gavin. “Nevertheless, Tommy and I will be going out completely refreshed and revitalised, ready to face whatever the race throws at us and back up the #3 Corvette’s title push. I’m always targeting silverware and we will be ready to snap up a podium finish is an opportunity presents itself, although we have to do what’s best for Corvette Racing and make sure our priorities are straight. VIR is another classic racetrack – we’re so lucky to visit so many epic circuits – and I hope we have some more entertaining battles.”

    Qualifying will be streamed live on the official IMSA.com website from 16.40 ET on Saturday (22 August), while the Oak Tree Grand Prix itself will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 from 13.00 ET on Sunday (23 August).

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    Frustration for Gavin in entertaining TUDOR Championship race at Road America

    Corvette Racing Road America 2015For Oliver Gavin, the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America was dominated by an entertaining, race-long exchange with the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s BMW contingent, although the British ace was left feeling slightly frustrated with his seventh place result (8-9 August).

    Gavin and his Corvette Racing team went to Wisconsin without conducting a pre-Road America test and the aim was to negate any consequential deficits during Friday’s free practice sessions.

    Torrential rain thwarted all attempts to find a suitable baseline setup and assess Michelin’s three tyre compounds and teams had a narrow 60-minute window on Saturday (8 August) morning in which to determine the correct course for qualifying and the race.

    Ultimately, Corvette Racing took an educated guess with the setups of its Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs, but Gavin’s American teammate, Tommy Milner, successfully overcame a slight brake locking issue to qualify the #4 car fifth, right in the GTLM pack.

    However, it became evident as the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase unfolded that the Porsche and Ferrari GTLM entries were in a race of their own, drawing away and leaving the Corvettes to scrap over the lesser points positions with the Falken Porsche and the BMWs.

    The momentum migrated from one marque to the other as strategies played out and Corvette Racing was a well-oiled machine in the stops, having worked extensively on slashing the time spent in the driver changes, to place Gavin right in the middle of a highly entertaining fight for fifth, sixth and seventh positions during the last stint.

    On the preferred tyre, Gavin honed in on BMW Team RLL’s Lucas Luhr and got a run on the German through Canada corner in the final throes of the 2h40m race, spotting an opportunity to follow in the wheel tracks of a faster prototype machine and nose up the outside of his class rival.

    The brawling pair bashed wheels as the ran side-by-side down to Turn 13. Luhr leant on the #4 Corvette through the left-hander until Gavin was scrambling for grip on the grass with no time to recover the lost ground and try to better his seventh place before the chequered flag.

    “I think we all drove really hard, and raced hard with the BMWs,” said Gavin. “It was a little frustrating at the end there. I thought I was racing Lucas (Luhr) pretty fair, but he put me in the grass coming out of Turn 13. I didn’t think that needed to happen, but sometimes that is just racing. I looked after the tyres reasonably well throughout the final stint and gained a lot of time on all those ahead of me, but there were definitely two races in the GTLM division, the first between Porsche and Ferrari and the second involving Corvette and BMW.

    “When it is like that and you’re waiting to pick up the pieces from other’s mistakes or misfortune, it’s very demoralising and frustrating. Of course, free practice was a complete washout and our chance to find a good base setup and examine the tyres was gone, but Tommy (Milner) did a solid job to qualify fifth. Some of our race was shaped by testing different configurations in a bid to boost the #3 Corvette’s title push, but, taking that into consideration, we can’t seem to have everybody in the same class racing for all of the positions. Frustrating.”

    For more information on Oliver Gavin and his racing activities, please visit the official www.olivergavin.com website, ‘like’ his Facebook page or follow @olivergavin on Twitter.

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