The first sprint race of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is nigh and Oliver Gavin reckons his Corvette Racing team will be “right there” vying for the GTLM victory in the Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach, California (17-18 April).
The Long Beach Street Circuit winds its way through 1.96miles of the Southern Californian city of Long Beach, which sits right on the Pacific Coast of the United States.
The temporary palm tree-lined road course is famed for its spectacular and picturesque waterfront location and the city has long hosted high-profile motor racing events, including the Champ Car World Series, IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), as well as rounds of the Formula 1 World Championship during the late Seventies and early Eighties.
Unforgiving concrete walls are an ever-present threat and just finishing is an achievement in itself, although the race often pivots around strategy and efficient work from the teams in the circuit’s crowded pit lane will be critical.
Gavin, whose attacking driving style is compatible with the demands of racing on street circuits, believes he and the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R will be a potent combination at Long Beach and a repeat of his 2012 victory could be on the cards.
The British ace said: “I like all street circuits and I think it suits my attacking driving style. Sometimes that really pays dividends at Long Beach and I won there in 2012 with Tommy (Milner). That was a great race for us and it was particularly nice to pass some cars and put some moves on people. You’re really driving as fast as you can without going beyond the limits because there’s no room for error and it’s too easy to send the car into the wall.
“Last year was quite tough with the way the prototype cars and GT cars ran together, but the split-start deal we have in this year’s TUDOR Championship should make for a far cleaner, closer race, especially considering that the Balance of Performance (BoP) has been pretty good so far.”
Gavin added: “I feel that some cars, such as the Ferrari 458 Italia or the short wheelbase BMW Z4s, will be very strong at Long Beach, but I’m sure the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R will be right there too because you need good mid-corner rotation and traction out of the turns. I believe much of this race will pivot around the pit stops; passing opportunities will be at a premium and any delay in the pits is going to cost you dearly.”