With no less than 48 wins with Corvette Racing since 2002, Oliver Gavin will again compete alongside Tommy Milner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2017.
2016 proved to be a most-successful season for Gavin with he and teammate Milner notched up the brand’s 100th GTML victory on the way to his fifth title with the team. Naturally he is looking forward to getting back to the track and competing for more success…
On your 16th season with Corvette Racing?
“It’s definitely an honour to be back for another season. I started with Corvette Racing in 2002, so driving in 2017 and representing Corvette Racing for another full season is a huge honour and I’m really looking forward to being back on track at Daytona – the first race of the season – and seeing where we are.
“It’s great to be back with Tommy for what will be our sixth year together. We’ve had some fantastic races, won championships, and we have some great moments together, I’m sure we’ll add to those in 2017.”
A week to celebrate with home recognition from the BRDC with the Fairfield Trophy
“I’m delighted with the BRDC Fairfield Trophy I collected Monday at the awards lunch. I’m a proud member of the BRDC and to be recognised by them when I spend so much time racing in the US is very special – great to know that my competition is not cut off from the UK and Europe – so I’m delighted to be recognised this year for my achievements.
“It was also a personal pleasure to be presented by six-time Gold Olympic Cyclist, Sir Chris Hoy. Sharing a stage with such a legend who has waved the flag and achieved so much for our country, was very special…”
With 48 wins, there must be one or two that stands out above the others?
“There’s so many races and so many wins that are special. The freshest and most spectacular was the 2016 Daytona 24hrs. That was an intense, hard fought battle with our teammates. Unreal finish.
“Le Mans 24hrs in 2006 was an exceptional race as it was hot and so tough against our rivals in GT1. The C6.R was a great car that year and I teamed up with Jan Magnussen and Olivier Beretta for the extremely intense race-long battle against the Astons. It was really a great race for Corvette Racing and it was our third in a row, so that was very satisfying.”
On 2016 and chances for 2017 at the big races at Daytona and Le Mans?
“We were not really sure how competitive we would be in 2016 against very tough competition, but on balance over the year in the IMSA championship the C7.R had strong performance. In saying that, Le Mans was very very hard for us. The Balance of Performance is a necessary evil – manufacturers, officials, fans and drivers have to accept that sometimes things work out, sometimes not. You always need to look at the year as a whole and more often than not, in 2016, IMSA got the balance correct.
“Balance of Performance especially comes into focus at Daytona and Le Mans as they’re such long races and the effect is magnified over the 24 hours, so in 2017 we come back with a similar package, albeit with slightly varying tyre compounds, so we will have to wait and see how it all plays out in the big events.”
Is there one thing in particular you would like to tick off your ‘done’ list for 2017?
“With 48 wins, I’m obviously very close to an important milestone and that – along with the championship – is the target and if I could get there it would be amazing. We’re always chasing the wins, especially at the big events. Over a 12-month period in 2015/16 we won Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. Very special.
“One that seems to have got away is COTA (Circuit of the Americas). It’s just never clicked or we’ve had bad luck. This year the race is in May instead of late summer, so perhaps that will bring a change of fortune and I can get that monkey off my back.
“Sometimes as hard as you try, races can pick you. Road America this year is a classic example. The way things unfolded in those final laps was amazing. That race certainly picked us for the win!”