The scenic Road America track at Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin is a favourite of Olly’s – and one he is very familiar with thanks to his ten years of competition with the GM Corvette Racing team but he will have very different memories of the circuit after today.
Doing double duty in 2011 in both the American Le Mans Series and the Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series for Banner Racing, he was today preparing to drive his #07 Chevrolet Camaro GT.R in the seventh round of the series and watching from the pits as his team mate, Gunter Schaldach, took the green flag for the start of the two-hour race.
It proved to be short-lived event for the duo. An apparent mechanical failure in the braking system on the Banner Racing Camaro caused Schaldach to pitch into the rear of the #40 Dempsey Racing Mazda at Turn One on lap one, sending both cars skidding across the gravel trap at terrifying speed. The 37-year-old from Colorado hit the tyre barriers and vaulted the 20 foot high catch fencing, rolled several times and landed some distance from the track.
Gunter was extremely fortunate to be able to walk away unscathed from the high-speed accident, the cause of which accident is still being fully investigated by the Leighton Reese run team.
Olly said: “I’m just really thankful that Gunter was able to walk away from this, and that the Pratt & Miller-built Chevy Camaro withstood the accident extremely well. Within 5 seconds Gunter was on the radio telling us that he was fine, which was a massive relief. I hope Joe [Foster] is okay, and want to send best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.”
The next two rounds of the Grand-Am series clash with the ALMS so Olly will not be in the Banner Racing entry. His next ALMS race will be at Lime Rock Park on Saturday, 9th July.