Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin has a busy couple of weeks of running coming up - on the streets of Long Beach in California in his Corvette C6R GT car, and in London, England in the Virgin London Marathon.
This coming weekend the two-time GT1 class Long Beach class winner will be taking to the historic 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course for the second round of the American Le Mans Series. Teamed with Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette C6R, and aiming to build on the fine points tally accumulated at the Twelve Hours of Sebring, Olly knows the race will be a challenge from the moment he arrives in California.
“There’s going to be 36 cars on the concrete-lined circuit which will potentially make traffic a huge issue and there’s only two hours of track time before the two-hour race, the shortest on our ALMS calendar,” notes Olly. “You have to approach the race in the way that every single second on track is vital and you have to do your homework well, sitting down with your engineers and team mate and going through everything in detail before first practice.
“Unfortunately we have practice and qualifying either end of Friday, with greatly differing temperatures and track conditions and there’s no warm up on Saturday so you’re straight into the race. You often find yourself at Long Beach making adjustments to the car during the race, such as tyre pressures, to balance the car out.
“Of course everyone’s in the same boat and has the same amount of time, and it usually ends up with people who’ve been at the front in practice at the front of the race – although a street race can always throw up an a twist or two! It’s usually very good racing, and Long Beach is always an exciting event for a bit of a thrash. Fuel strategy is always key to a good result – a lengthy caution can potentially lead to a one-stop race, and that’s all going on in your mind while you’re dicing with 11 other GT cars.
“It’s still to be decided who will qualify and start, and Tommy and I will figure it out on Thursday. Tommy was going well last year until held back by some contact and also did well at Baltimore so obviously has good pace on street courses. I’m feeling confident and looking forward to it.”
Eight days after the race, Olly will be taking part in the 2012 Virgin London Marathon with the aim of beating his 2010 time of 2 hours 54 minutes and 20 seconds. With many Olympic hopefuls heading the Elite section of the 35,000 entrants, Olly is hoping that a new training programme he’s followed, together with their fast pace, will give him the impetus needed to set a new personal best record and raise awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.