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.”