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Pre-Six Hours of the Glen news and views from Oliver Gavin

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  • Oliver Gavin heads to The Six Hours of the Glen in the 2016 WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship (30 June – 3 July)
  • Gavin took some time out after Le Mans to visit the Goodwood Festival of Speed
  • Gavin and Corvette Racing teammate Tommy Milner lead the GTLM Championship with 130 points
  • The #4 Corvette Racing pairing hold a 12-point lead over Porsche North America with four rounds complete.

    Gavin says…

    On his short break following Le Mans

    “I spent a good few days with my family, relaxing and trying to catch up on lost sleep from the Le Mans week. It’s only when you get home that you realise how much you’ve put into the biggest race of the year.

    “Last Friday I went to the Goodwood Festival of Speed to drive the C7.R race car up the hill. It’s such an amazing event and it was fantastic to drive the car up past the house. Over the weekend it was also great to see my boss Mark Reuss drive the race car.”

    On the next round at Watkins Glen

    “I’m really looking forward to going back to Watkins Glen, I always enjoy driving there and the weather is looking good at the moment, unlike last year. The Six Hours of the Glen is a special event, a good mix of flat out racing, strategy and fuel management.

    “For two drivers it can be pretty physical, especially as they’ve resurfaced the track and all the reports are that the circuit is significantly quicker with higher grip level and so G-loads.”

    On the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R post Le Mans

    “We will revert back to our sprint package (higher downforce) on the C7.R. The car has been stripped down and fully rebuilt after the Le Mans accident. The guys having been working hard and we are ready!”

    On the championship battle

    “Tommy and I are ready to get back to the battle and the fight in the GTLM class of the WeatherTech championship. The Corvette C7.R ran strongly at this race last year, the car was quick in most conditions. We are still leading the championship and looking to take the fight to everyone else in our class.”

    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-Monterey Grand Prix news and views from Oliver Gavin

    sm_2RPN8498HEADLINES

  • Seventh place for Oliver Gavin brings podium run to an end
  • Pit stop penalty ruins any chance of a top three finish
  • Championship lead remains intact as Gavin’s closest rivals fail to capitalise

    The story of the race…

  • Chevrolet Corvette C7.R struggles for pace against Ferrari and Ford, as the WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship’s Balance of Performance takes its toll
  • Tommy Milner qualifies the #4 Corvette fifth
  • Gavin takes over from Milner after 40 minutes of racing, taking advantage of a full-course yellow
  • A long second stop on lap 48 spoils Gavin’s race; his car’s air jacks fail to release and the #4 Corvette’s wheels spin up before grounding and engaging gear
  • The pit incident results in a drive-through penalty, which puts the #4 Corvette a lap down on the main pack
  • Gavin battles back past the #911 Porsche, the BMWs and into P7 to salvage some points.

    Gavin says…

    On breaking his podium run…

    “The Continental Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca was a tough race for us in many ways. We worked hard on getting a good balance on the new Michelin ‘Le Mans-spec’ tyres at Laguna, which has historically been a battle. In the last stint, things were coming together and I was the fastest car on-track, passing a Porsche and two BMWs and reeling in the Ford and the Ferrari. I think with another couple of laps, seventh could have been fifth.”

    On the problematic second pit stop…

    “Unfortunately, we had a problem with the air jack wand being a little too slow to release. Our stops were heavily choreographed and I was watching the Crew Chief, Brian, and the Wand Man and anticipating the moment to release the clutch and leave the pit box. The momentary pause in the car coming down off the jacks meant the wheels were spinning while the car was in the air and that is against the rules.”

    On the objectives for the next round of the championship…

    “We salvaged some points from the Monterey Grand Prix and we’ve got some more testing on the latest Michelin tyres at Elkhart Lake in readiness for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. Hopefully we can get them to work better on our front-engined Corvette, as they seemed to favour the mid-engined Fords and Ferraris at Laguna Seca. We still have the lead in the WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship and consistent points finishes are key if we are to maintain that advantage. That will be our goal.”

    On a busy month of May…

    “We’ve got a bit of a busy month ahead. Testing will be followed by some General Motors PR events in Frankfurt and then I will venture into Asia to continue with my young driver development programme. The first stop will be Shanghai with formula cars and then I’ll be dealing with LMP3 cars in the new ACO Sprint Series in Kuala Lumpur, before returning to the UK. I will be home for three days!”

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

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    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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    Gavin’s bid for Mount Panorama podium return in Bathurst 12 Hour comes to early end

    1d90caf8-049e-4182-b90f-e7dab96f3375Oliver Gavin’s love affair with Australian motorsport remains undiminished after a stout bid for glory in the 2015 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour on the legendary Mount Panorama Circuit ended prematurely in the wall (6-8 February).

    The Briton’s jaunt in the 2014 Australian V8 Supercars Pirtek Endurance Cup yielded a podium finish in the Bathurst 1000 race, making Gavin the first international driver to scale the V8 podium in more than 25 years.

    This remarkable feat was the catalyst for Gavin’s return to ‘The Mountain’, where he would attempt to emulate his V8 Supercars success and scale the winners’ rostrum in the world-renowned Bathurst 12 Hour GT race, this time with a state-of-the-art Skwirk.com.au Audi R8 LMS Ultra MPC, owned and co-driven by capable amateur racer, Rod Salmon, and Australian ace, Nathan Antunes.

    Gavin contested the once-around-the-clock enduro for the second time, having led last year’s race in a Class B Audi R8, and fully expected to have all the ingredients necessary to mount a serious challenge for a podium finish, or even victory.

    The Skwirk-liveried Audi was a top-ten stalwart during free practice, mixing it with the manufacturer-supported efforts of Bentley, Nissan and Aston Martin, as well as other top marques like Ferrari and Lamborghini.

    Sadly, the wrong tyre, traffic and successive red flags all added up to a very frustrating qualifying session for Gavin and teammates, who were unable to better 23rd on the grid.

    However, Gavin felt he had some unfinished business ‘down under’ after retiring from last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour and, well aware that the race was never going to be won in qualifying, the Briton remained confident of challenging for victory in the once-around-the-clock enduro.

    The cars took the start as the sun rose over New South Wales and it was a spectacular sight as, headlights ablaze, the bumper field of GT cars clambered over ‘The Mountain’ for the first time in the dim early morning light.

    Gavin pushed on and drove in a committed fashion to drag the #5 machine into the top ten by the completion of his first double stint.

    After an early caution period, Gavin locked horns with fellow Briton and former Le Mans 24 Hours winner, Guy Smith, in an all-new Bentley Continental GT. The pair remained engaged in a tense tussle for fourth overall as the sun rose along with the temperatures before pitting for the first round of driver changes.

    Following a superb effort and with the disappointment of qualifying well and truly behind him, Gavin handed the reins to team owner and competitive amateur driver, Salmon – himself a former Bathurst winner.

    The order continued shifting as the 12 hours ticked on and the Swkwirk Racing team remained in contention until the fourth hour when Bathurst debutant and former single-seater Champion, Antunes, began his opening stint.

    After a protracted Safety Car period – one of 20 that would blight the race – Antunes set after the leaders in a bid to improve track position. However, unfortunate contact with the unforgiving concrete wall at The Cutting resulted in terminal damage to the Skwirk-backed Audi R8 LMS Ultra’s axle, chassis and gearbox.

    Gavin was philosophical in the aftermath of the incident, which forced his team into retirement after approximately 4h30m had elapsed, saying: “I love coming to Bathurst, as it’s a unique and unbelievable racetrack and the experience of working with Rod (Salmon) and the professional Skwirk Racing team has really made the journey worthwhile. After the disappointment of qualifying, we had to pick ourselves up again and demonstrate what the Skwirk.com.au-backed Audi could deliver and I think we did that admirably as a team and, with good fortune, I believe we could have got a strong result.

    “Nathan is devastated that the race ended in the way it did, but Mount Panorama is unforgiving and the quality of the field makes it a 12-hour sprint. As a result, you can’t afford to drive too far within yourself if you’re genuinely looking to win. I have to thank Rod for the opportunity and his great hospitality in Australia and I hope we can have a go at putting this result right in 2016.”

    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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    Olly launches new Corvette Stingray at Geneva Motor Show

    Olly with the C7

    The 83rd edition of the Geneva Motor Show will be remembered as a special occasion by car enthusiasts around the world, thanks to the global premiere of the much anticipated Corvette Stingray convertible.

    Engineered to race and built for the road, the Stingray was launched in style today (5th March) with the help of Olly in his role as Corvette Racing factory driver and current American Le Mans Series GT Champion, Simona de Silvestro, the Swiss Indy car driver, and Dwight Yorke of Manchester United FC’s Legends programme.  The football behemoth is sponsored by Chevrolet.

    The presentation of the new car was made by Susan Docherty, President and Managing Director of Chevrolet and Cadillac Europe, and Oliver drove the gleaming convertible onto the stage with Dwight Yorke in the passenger seat.  The hugely successful British GT driver has recently been involved in a number of days at Manchester United, advising the players on best driving practices and how to enjoy the Chevrolet Corvettes and Camaros available to them.

    Olly will be leaving at the weekend for Sebring in Florida for the first round of the 2013 ALMS, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the start of his title defence.

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    Olly’s personal tribute to Dan Wheldon

    Olly knew Dan Wheldon from the age of 6 or 7, competing against him in karting and, following the tragic events at Las Vegas last Sunday, paid this personal tribute to him.

    “It’s obviously tragic for everyone in motorsport, a very sad day.  Dan was massively passionate about motorsport and got a huge amount from racing in the USA – something I can relate to very much.

    “I’ve known Dan since a very young age when we raced against each other at Kimbolton Kart Club.  We’d be parked up next to him and his dad, Clive, for many a weekend and we got to know all the family; his mum was a scorer at the club.  He comes from Emberton which is only about 5 miles from where I live and the family are well known.

    “I feel desperately sorry for Susie and his two young sons.  You feel most for the people left behind.”

    Olly is currently in Australia where he will be taking part in this weekend’s Armor Gold Coast 600 Aussie V8 Supercar race, an event that Wheldon was also due to participate in.  Oliver and fellow British Racing Driver Club members, including 3-times WTCC champion Andy Priaulx, Richard Westbrook and Marino Franchitti, will be honouring the memory of Dan at the race with black armbands and a message on their race helmets.

     

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    Olly on SPEEDTV.com

    From last weekend’s Long Beach Grand Prix, SPEEDTV.com will feature a new columnist.  Olly will be giving his personal thoughts and views from ‘In The Cockpit’, joining established columnists such as Will Power (Indycar) and Alex Davison (Aussie V8 series).

    Here’s a link to the website.  Enjoy!!

    http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/in-the-cockpit-oliver-gavin-long-beach/

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