Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin set out his stall for the coming 2011 American Le Mans Series season by qualifying on the front row of the GT grid for the tomorrow’s endurance classic in Florida, the 12 Hours of Sebring. He lines up behind the AF Corse Ferrari F430 GT of Gianmaria Bruni.
The Northamptonshire, UK-based driver was frustrated to have missed pole position by just 0.182 seconds, but pleased to have achieved the result after an up-and-down week of interrupted practice sessions and new car glitches.
“I’m delighted to be on the front row,” said Olly, “but of course I would have liked to get the pole! It didn’t quite work out for us today. When my tyres were just about at their best, and the lap was coming together, I had a little bit of traffic – the AF Corse Ferrari – which made me pass him on the inside going into Turn 7. I then had to go through sand that had been dragged onto Turn 10 by another car, got some understeer, and lost what probably would have been my best lap.”
The British driver, who is celebrating his tenth season with the GM factory team, continued, “I’m pleased for everybody here. It’ s been an up and down week for us, so to come away with second place in qualifying is great and I’m pleased to have got that for Jan and Richard. We’ve been working away on set up and trying to make sure we’re as competitive as possible, and I’m confident that the set up for the race is going to be that step forward again from what we had in qualifying.
“I think the car will behave pretty well tomorrow. In terms of the track, we know how it’s condition and temperature has been during the week and, historically, how it can change once you get the race going. We’ve tried to build some of that set up into the car to allow for it and I’m confident we’ll see more performance for the race. I’m a bit surprised at how some of our competitors fared in qualifying and I think we’ll only really get to see what the opposition can do 3 or 4 hours into the race.”
The race begins at 10:30am local time tomorrow and can be followed outside the USA on www.americanlemans.com or seen on Eurosport in Europe. Check your local listings for details.