Oliver Gavin at Mosport in Canada today took his first ALMS victory since Petit Le Mans last year, and the Corvette Racing team’s first since the start of the 2011 season. Driving with Jan Magnussen in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R, the British driver and the Dane broke the three-racing-winning streak held by BMW Team RLL in today fourth round of the series. Magnussen held off Jaime Melo, who teamed with Vilander, by 4.409 seconds. Dirk Werner brought the No. 55 BMW he shares with Bill Auberlen home in third.
Olly was the starting driver, and slotted into sixth as the race began. The running order didn’t change until the first round of pit stops under a full-course caution, when the Northamptonshire-based driver emerged in third after two cars were penalised. When the second-place Porsche went off track shortly after the one-hour mark, Olly moved into second and began an extended battle with Toni Vilander in the Risi Competizione Ferrari.
“We started coming on these big clumps of traffic, and things started getting crazy,” said Olly. “I had this mad battle with Toni, where he passed me going into Turn 2 and then he went around the outside of a GTC car. I managed to undercut them both and come back around the outside into Turn 3 – it was fantastic racing!
“Hats off to Jan, who did the last hour, and the team who did a stellar job today,” he continued. “I knew from my stint that if Jan was on the Ferrari gearbox coming out of Turn 5, you could probably get a tow coming out and use the momentum to get by. He executed brilliantly and then sliced through traffic to get a 4- or 5- second lead.
“It was all a bit mad and crazy, especially once the caution had come out and everyone had new tyres. It got a bit racy and that started in the pit lane with everyone jostling for positions. At the first stop I got out just before Toni, who was hit by a BMW. I had a really good battle with Toni and it was super close, especially navigating your way through the prototypes and the slower GT cars.”
Having negotiated the great challenge that is Mosport, Oliver reflected on his GT win today. “I’m really delighted to be back on the top step as we’ve have had a couple of rough races. Today everyone executed all they had to 100%, the drivers, team, strategy calls and pit stops were fantastic. Brian [crew chief Brian Hoye] and the guys on our car were on top form and got us out where we needed to be which enhanced our race and made the difference. If you’re going to win in this championship, you need a completely clean race with everyone operating at the maximum and that’s definitely what we had today.”
Oliver’s next race will be round five of the ALMS at Mid Ohio on Saturday, August 6.