GM factory driver Olly Gavin and his Banner Racing team mate Gunther Schaldach drove a faultless race at Barber Motorsports Park today to take the #07 The Cool TV Camaro GT.R to second place in the GT class in round two of the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. The Anglo-American duo took the checkered flag 2.5 seconds behind Bill Auberlen’s Turner Motorsport BMW, and both Gavin and Auberlen finished one lap ahead of the next six runners.
The British, four-time 24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 winner paid tribute to 37-year-old Schaldach of Colorado, who qualified the GM Camaro in third place on the GT grid for the 2h 45 minute race on the 2.3 mile, 17-turn road course in Birmingham, Alabama.
“Gunther’s performance in qualifying was great and it really put us in a strong position for the race. He started, drove well and kept the car in a top three spot throughout his stint, handing it over to me with not a scratch on it. We were pretty well matched to the BMW at the start and finish of each stint, but they seemed to have us covered during the middle section.”
Olly continued, “We got a bit of a break with 45 minutes of the race to go when there was a caution period and Bill [Auberlen] and I got a wave by and went a lap up on everyone else. I got within two seconds of him but then we both came up on a Mazda. Bill got by him, with the bit of extra power they’ve got over us, and I got stuck behind for 10 laps which just about finished our race. I ran out of time to try anything else.
“The Camaro GT.R was fantastic for the whole weekend and I’m pleased with this second place. I’m really proud of the guys at Leighton Reese Performance Group as they worked very hard on the car since Homestead to make us comfortable. We’ve had a new seat and air conditioning system installed and made some good steps forward with set up. Our engineer, Tony Dowe, was right on it from the first practice and we were fast all weekend. I’m sure we can continue with this momentum, and I think the VIR track will be even better for the Camaro so we can really challenge for victory.”
Oliver’s next race with be the second round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series on the streets of Long Beach, California on Saturday, April 16.