Post Le Mans 24 Hours news and views from Oliver Gavin

sm_20160618_LM-1195-CTLThe story of the race

  • Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor retire from the 84th 24 Heures du Mans in the early hours of Sunday (19 June) morning
  • Having already taken victory at Daytona and Sebring in 2016, Gavin had hopes of making it a clean sweep with a second Le Mans win in as many years and the sixth of his career
  • Gavin started the 2016 edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours from 13th in class behind the Safety Car, deployed after torrential rain struck Circuit de la Sarthe
  • Gavin was happy with the progress made during a triple stint, which wasn’t without its issues on a drying track
  • Milner and Taylor followed Gavin and handed the #64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R back to the five-time Le Mans winner with approximately 17 hours remaining
  • From ninth, Gavin utilised soft compound tyres to gain one more position, but further progress was proving tough
  • Corvette Racing team tried to make the best of rules aimed at balancing performance to run in the top eight in the GTE Pro division
  • A collision with the barriers with Milner behind the wheel in the early hours of Sunday (19 June, 2016) morning brought the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours to a premature and abrupt end.

    Gavin says…

    On starting the 84th 24 Heures du Mans with a triple stint…

    “The triple stint was eventful and the wet conditions at the start were a challenge, but it quickly dried out. The Corvette Racing team made a good call on tyres and we made some good ground on our competitors. I had some problems with the tyre pressures and chassis balance, particularly after the second stop, but it will come to us as the race progresses and the circuit rubbers in. My left ear-plug also fell out, so my last stint was quite painful! But we’ll make progress even if our chassis balance is a little edgy early on.”

    On his return to the #64 Corvette as the sun set over Le Mans…

    “To be honest, I think we were treading water a little bit and we need to see who is still competitive and running well when the sun comes up. We have no major issues and we’re just rolling through the pit stops and driver changes. We’ve switched to the softer tyre and that has helped us be a little more competitive, but we’re short on outright pace.” “The triple stint was eventful and the wet conditions at the start were a challenge but it quickly dried. The team made a good call on tyres and we made some good ground on our competitors.

    On Tommy Milner’s race-ending trip into the barriers…

    “Tommy (Milner) was in the car for a double stint, but, on the entry into the Dunlop Chicane, the rear snapped away. He corrected, but the car was already heading towards the wall and it impacted head-on into the wall. The car was heavily damaged, but Tommy was able to walk away unaided and unharmed. This again demonstrated how strong and how safe the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R is, and number one on the list of priorities for everyone at Corvette Racing is driver safety.

    “Drivers are all here to perform, we all did that and I just said to Tommy that it’s an extremely tough break and it could have been any one of us. He was a big factor in last year’s win so we know he’s got everything you need to be successful at Le Mans. It’s just the way Le Mans can bite you, as you’re going so fast for so long and the car’s so light on aero. You’re relying on mechanical grip so you can be off the track in a heartbeat.”

    On the Balance of Performance in the 84th 24 Heures du Mans…

    “Right from the start we knew we were going to be up against it, looking at the pace of the Ford and Ferrari, as well as the Porsche and Aston Martin. As the race unfolded and we got into the night, it seemed we were a match for most, if not a little bit quicker than the Astons and Porsches. It was only when the sun came up that we saw the Fords and Ferraris really starting to stretch their legs again. You can easily lose the race at night, but you can’t win it, so maybe they were being a little easier and then waiting for the last few hours to see what they had.

    “The Balance of Performance adjustment certainly helped us, but it wasn’t all we needed so we were trying for strategies that would work, like trying the soft tyre combination. There’s only so much that we can do as a team and there are many frustrated people frustrated, but we know we’ve got to go away and work doubly hard to make our car better and see what we can do on our return in 2017.”

    On recovering from Le Mans weeks…

    “Over the next few days I won’t think an awful lot about racing. I try to spend as much time as I can with my family and just reset back to normal life. There has been so much intensity, pressure, time and anticipation – everybody gets really ramped up for this race. It’s the focal point of the year, but, win or lose we know the racing season does continue after Le Mans.”

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