Olly proved today that, in racing, you never give up, no matter what. Despite running in the top three of the GT category for much of the race, and indeed leading the class on more than one occasion, it looked towards the end that a podium position for the No. 4 Corvette would be just out of reach.
The last lap of the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring was one for the history books, however, and Oliver made a decisive move in the final moments of the race to pass the No. 155 BMW of Jorg Muller to claim third place in the ALMS and fourth place overall in the GT class. He joined his Corvette team mate, Jan Magnussen, on the podium after the Dane made a similar last-lap move to pass the AF Corse Ferrari of Olivier Beretta for second – thus claiming the Corvette team’s first podiums and points finishes of the season.
Taking place in hot, sunny conditions throughout, the GT race was a thriller and five cars finished on the same lap after nose-to-tail racing for the majority of the once-round-the-clock classic. With 63 cars on track through the combination of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the American Le Mans Series, there was plenty of action from start to finish.
Oliver said afterwards: “Certainly, looking at the race as a whole it was very positive. We had a good, fast car which seemed to be just that little bit quicker than the No.3 car and both Tommy and Richard drove really well. I think it’s set us up extremely well for Le Mans.
“In the end what changed our race was a pit strategy call which didn’t go our way. With all the cautions that happened through the race, to not have one in the final two hours was unusual. If there’d been one we’d have been in the prime position to capitalise on it, but it didn’t happen so we ended up 30 seconds or more back up the road in fifth instead of first.
“To finish on the podium is a good start to the season and for the team to have a 2-3 is great for Corvette. We’ve got a good car and we’ve got ourselves in a positive position for the rest of the season and for Le Mans. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the victory but there’ll be plenty of opportunities throughout the year.”
Oliver now heads directly from the USA to the Paul Ricard HTTT track in the south of France to drive a GM Camaro for Reiter Engineering in a GT3 performance test. His next race in the USA will be the second round of the ALMS at Long Beach, California on 14th April.