Olly heads now to Baltimore for the eighth round of the series and with only one target in mind – a fourth win and consolidation of his and Tommy’s hold on the ALMS GT title chase.
But, with the two-hour sprint race taking place on a 2-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit in Maryland’s city of Baltimore, achieving the target amongst the highly competitive GT field won’t necessarily be straightforward.
The pits are housed adjacent to Baltimore’s famous Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and Corvette Racing’s Corvette C6.Rs are only expected to make one scheduled stop. However, on a street track anything can happen, as it did last year when a multi-car, first-lap incident necessitated an additional stop for a new set of Michelin tyres.
There are also some changes to the track which make it faster and more challenging. “The chicane before the start/finish line is gone so it’s very fast going into T1,” says Olly. “T1 is a pretty uneven surface which can make it tricky to find braking points, and T2-3 is extremely bumpy so that makes it a big challenge to get a quick lap. Last year we were quick straight out of the truck, and I’m confident we will be able to do the same thing this year.
“Baltimore is a tough track because some sections are bumpy and low grip, while other sections have new asphalt and are very grippy which poses a challenge for the engineers to set up a car that’s good in both sections. But, once you get to the race, it’s hammer down and go. In a two-hour street race, it’s about being as fast as you can all the time. It’s pretty much a full-on, flat-out race to the finish.
“We stand a very good chance, but luck can play a huge role in your result in a street race,” Olly cautioned. “I expect the unexpected – somebody makes a boneheaded move, somebody spins in a blind corner and you can’t avoid driving into them, or you get caught up in someone else’s accident and your race is done. All street circuits are challenging and difficult for everyone involved, but they are also a huge amount of fun.”