Olly brought his American Le Mans Series season with Corvette Racing to a close today in the best possible manner, with his first win in the ultra-competitive GT2 category at the 1000 Mile Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, Georgia. Together with his team mates Jan Magnussen and Emanuel Collard, he grasped a last minute victory in a race full of drama.
Going into the final lap, Olly’s No. 4 Corvette C6.R was trailing Toni Vilander in the class-leading No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari by 10 seconds. With a low-fuel alarm flashing in his own car, Olly watched incredulously as the Ferrari slowed on the back straight as it ran out of fuel. He had to complete just half a lap to reach the chequered flag.
“I’m just delighted; so happy, as this race was unbelievably hard,” said an exhausted Olly. “We led GT2, we were back in fifth or sixth, and then back at the front, and so on; it was very up and down. Both Jan and I had a period at the front but all the Risi drivers drove brilliantly and it was such an amazing event to be part of.
“It all came down to that last hour and everyone was pushing like hell. Toni was driving very well but I was slowly catching him and I was thinking maybe, maybe. Then I had an incident coming into the chicane where the Robertson Ford GT and the Drayson Lola prototype just virtually stopped and I lost about 5 seconds making sure I didn’t hit them. We never really seemed to get that back and then had to come into the pits for a splash of fuel. I was thinking that I had to keep pushing but that probably the chances were gone.
“After our last fuel stop, I hoped I’d have enough to get to the end,” Olly continued. “Then the fuel alarm came on with a lap and a half to go, and Chuck Houghton, my engineer, was telling me to save fuel, save fuel. As I came onto the back straight on the very last lap, I could see a Ferrari weaving, and I was trying to see the number on the side. I thought it might be the No. 61 car but as I went by, I thought, ‘that’s the leader!’ I kept asking Chuck if I was right but he didn’t reply and then when I came across the line Chuck yelled ‘we won!’
“It’s such an amazing result for everyone on the team. I wish I’d seen all their reactions in the pit box as it must have been quite something! We’ve had a lot of rough luck this year and it’s not run to plan, but this is just an amazing fillip for everyone. I want to say a massive, massive thanks to Gary Pratt, Doug Fehan, Doug Louth, Chuck, Brian and all the boys on the No. 4 car. They’ve never given up, kept fighting and this victory is for all of them.”