A chance encounter with AMR Team Principal John Gaw at the Goodwood Revival Meeting in the UK led to the chance for Olly to make his debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship with the team which, has for much of his GT racing career, been one of his biggest rivals. With the sporting co-operation of Corvette Racing, the tall Briton was put on loan to Aston Martin to back up long-time friend and rival Darren Turner and regular team mate in the LMGTE Pro class-leading No.97 Vantage V8, Stefan Mücke. The German had sustained a rib injury in a recent racing accident and was unsure if he would be able to drive for longer than the minimum 45 minutes required to score points so Olly was drafted in as a third driver.
The last-minute deal meant that Olly had a high-pressure, extremely busy weekend, with a lot to learn in a short space of time. However, he relished the experience, despite the ultimately disappointing result of retirement due to damage sustained when the high, F1-type kerbs bit Turner during his final stint in the car.
“I liked the car,” he noted, “and it was going well; we seemed to be chipping away at the lap times. Toward the end of my first stint the team was asking me if I could do a double and, at that point, I should have used my experience and said no because I hadn’t driven the car that much and didn’t know how I would be in a second hour.
“Due to the difference in our heights, the seating position was quite a big compromise for me and my knees were very high in the car. All completely understandable, as it was a last minute deal and we didn’t get the chance to test or anything like that, we just had to get on with it.
“Unfortunately I didn’t speak up and continued for a second stint and I started to get really bad cramp in my glutes (backside). After about ten laps I was radioing the team to say I was struggling and that I needed to get out, but they needed to get to the next fuel window and asked me to do another 6 or 7 laps. I did it but was in a lot of pain and when I got out I stumbled into the garage and then into the physio room which is managed by a great group of people there from Drive Performance. They got fluids into me and started to stretch me out but I had to lie on the floor for about 25 minutes while being worked on. Unfortunately while I was in there I heard that Darren had had the incident with the kerb at Turn 4, and despite the team making a massive effort to try and get back out, that was ultimately the end of the race for the No.97.”
Reflecting on the weekend, Olly said: “It was great fun to be part of the team and experience driving for one of the best sportscar teams in the world, in the FIA WEC and in the same race as the extremely fast LMP1 prototypes from Audi and Toyota. It was quite different to being up against them at Le Mans!
“I already drive for what I know is the best in Corvette Racing, and I realise I am privileged to have been part of another team which is operating at the top of its game in the same class. Despite it being a disappointing weekend in terms of results, I feel very, very lucky to have been able to drive both cars the same weekend on the same track.”