Street Fighting Talk

Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin suffered a frustrating weekend on the streets of Long Beach in California, finishing ninth in the super competitive GT class in today’s second round of the American Le Mans Series .

With very limited track time available to the series over two days, and with many cars and drivers experiencing Long Beach for the first time, Olly and his team mate Olivier Beretta were – like all the other front runners – subject to many red flag interruptions during practice.  The Monaco man was tasked with qualifying and put the No. 4 Corvette in fifth place on the grid for the 100-minute sprint race.

Beretta took the green flag and had moved up to fourth by the 30-minute mark, but an encounter with a tire barrier damaged the front bodywork and driver’s door, dropping them to eighth. Olly took over the wheel at 46 minutes, just under the half way mark, but had to make two subsequent pit stops for additional repairs.

He explains what happened:  “It was very close and tight at the start and Olivier got a bit too close to Bergmeister and touched him going through Turn 11.  That did some damage to the front end of our car – the grille and intake to the radiator – and the water temperature went through the roof. We were fighting that for the first part of the race then Olivier after one of the many yellows, got caught up with a LMPC car at Turn 9 which caught him by surprise as he was going down the gears; he got sideways and slid into the tires – a traffic incident..  There was traffic everywhere here, and it was difficult for everyone including experienced drivers.   Unfortunately the incident did a lot of damage to the left side of the car.

Oliver coming through T10 at Long Beach

“We kept going but the water temperature continued to climb after I got in the car and we also lost a mirror so had to come in for that. A ninth-place finish certainly wasn’t what we wanted,” continued Olly. “It seems like we can’t get a break at the moment. The car was good, even with the damage we had, but realistically we weren’t going to move up in the finishing order and I just brought it home without risk.  There were cars spinning off right and left in front of me, and a car even spun into the wall in front of me behind the pace car!

“I’m now faced with trying to make my way home which, with the disruption to flights because of the volcanic ash, is certainly going to be a challenge.  I’m trying to fly from Toronto to Lisbon then go by train from Lisbon to Paris, and another train from Paris to London, which should get me home on Friday.  I’ve got the London Marathon on Sunday and at the moment I’ve got one day to rest, sort my numbers out and get ready for the race.  It’s certainly not the way I wanted to do it, having trained so hard for the last six months, but we’ll have to wait and see.  It’s out of my control…this volcano has certainly erupted at the wrong time for me.”

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