This coming weekend sees the first of two back-to-back races for Olly in North America as the super-competitive American Le Mans Series moves into the final third of the season for rounds 7 and 8.
On a high from a superb second place in the GT class at Mid Ohio two weeks ago – finishing just 0.5 seconds behind the winner after two hours and 45 minutes of racing – the 37-year-old can’t wait to show what he and his Corvette Racing C.6R can do on the scenic 4.05 mile Road America track in Wisconsin and the 2.45 mile fast track at Mosport in Ontario, Canada.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend as I love coming back to Road America,” said Olly, who has been enjoying a holiday with his family in the North Eastern region of the States. “It’s a great track with a corner for every sort of racing driver. There are so many different sorts of corners here including some great high speed ones, good elevation changes, and some good, long, heavy braking zones where you can overtake people plus long straights for towing up behind people. It’s a great race track and it makes for good racing.
“Road America is the longest track we race on throughout the year in the ALMS, and it’s the most similar to Le Mans. In France this year our car was extremely competitive and fast so we hope to be able to have the same sort of performance here this weekend. Coming off the back of Mid Ohio’s result two weeks ago, where we had such a great race with Jaime Melo in the Ferrari, we hope we can continue that – preferably with the positions the other way round. I’m looking forward to another action packed weekend with lots of good racing and lots for people to see and enjoy.
“I think the BMWs will be more of a challenge here than at Mid Ohio and the Dunlop tyres are going to be good. That car is very, very fast on the straights and the team is slowly but surely getting a handle on their car and knowing where they need to be quick and where they don’t. They have been making some very good pit calls recently and seem to be keeping everyone on their toes with some unusual strategies like they used at Mid Ohio to keep their cars at the front of the field, even though they weren’t as fast as some other entries.
“I think there are so many strong cars now in this GT class that you can’t take your eye off the ball at all. Everyone’s got a strength; the Flying Lizard Porsche is always going to be strong and competitive, they’ve got good strategy and drivers, and the Risi Ferraris will of course be excellent with Jaime and Gimmi, Mika and Pierre. It’s getting stronger each race and is really a great field. The American Le Mans Series has got to be very happy with what they’ve got right now.”
The ALMS moves directly after this weekend north to Canada for the penultimate round of the Championship. Many of the teams, including Corvette, will be carrying out a pre-race test session on Wednesday (August 25) so it will be a busy week at a track which holds great memories for Olly.
“Mosport is another fast track and we’ve all got great memories of the place after our first win there last year with the GT car. Everyone enjoys going there because it’s fast, flowing and has some really challenging corners where you’re testing yourself as well as the car; your own sense of where the limit is will be constantly stretched and tested. I really enjoy it and we had a good car there last year and hope to repeat that. Olivier and I want to get that little monkey off our backs and get a victory at some point this year.”