Yardley Hastings’ resident international racing driver, Oliver Gavin, has in the last few weeks spent more hours pounding the streets, lanes and tracks around his Northamptonshire home than he has spent in his car. And racing drivers will be the first to admit they usually drive everywhere!
In the run up to the Virgin London Marathon on 25th April, the Corvette Racing superstar has been running 60-70 miles a week in training, and feels that it has all gone better than he could have expected. He is entering as part of a very competitive team, all members of the British Racing Drivers’ Club at Silverstone, running for the CLIC Sargent children’s cancer charity. Oliver, a veteran of five marathons, has set himself a personal target of running the 26.2 miles in less than three hours and has been working as hard on fundraising in recent weeks as he has in training. The collective goal is to raise £50,000.
“I’ve had a new training programme for this year,” said Oliver, “and I’m finding it easier to do more mileage at this stage than I have in the past. Apart from a few little niggles, aches and pains, it’s gone really well. I’ve been trying to stay on top of the mileage you have to do, and the pace you have to keep, and it’s a pretty rigorous schedule. You have to be careful not to over push and end up injuring yourself.
“I’m off to California this week for round two of the American Le Mans Series, for a 100-minute sprint race on the streets of Long Beach, so I’m fitting that into my schedule too. I won’t be running too much this week but I will start gradually upping my carbohydrate intake which means I get to start eating all sorts of nice things like pasta, maybe some pizza, and chocolate!”
Oliver, 37, will be sharing the driving on the scenic, 1.96 mile temporary street course, which sits in the shadow of the Queen Mary ocean liner, with his long-time driving partner, Olivier Beretta of Monaco. With an entry of 36 cars, and limited practice time before the Saturday afternoon race, Oliver acknowledges that success for any one of the entries will require an element of luck.
“There will be a lot of cars on track, and some with drivers who have no experience at Long Beach, so the probability of getting caught up in someone else’s accident is high. We will have to be cautious and careful at the same time as being super competitive so it will be a big challenge. For me it will be quite a strange weekend as I will drive at the start of practice on Friday morning and the next time I will be on the track will be during the race itself. We normally share out the track time quite equally but, as it’s so limited and Olivier will be qualifying, he’s going to get the lion’s share.”
A multiple championship winning driver with Corvette racing in North America, the Bedfordshire-born will be lining up in his canary-yellow Corvette C6.R race car next Saturday, April 17 on the streets of Long Beach, California against fellow competitors in BMWs, Ferraris, Ford GTs, Jaguars and Porsches.