BACK TO THE FUTURE As reigning ALMS GT1 Champion Oliver Gavin heads to Florida to begin his title defence, he reflects on the season ahead and in particular the prospect of the opening round at Sebring. "I don't think I'm ...
BACK TO THE FUTURE
As reigning ALMS GT1 Champion Oliver Gavin heads to Florida to begin his title defence, he reflects on the season ahead and in particular the prospect of the opening round at Sebring.
"I don't think I'm approaching this season differently to any other - I just can't wait to get back out there and race. The aim for both me and Olivier (Beretta) is still to win as many races as possible and ultimately, the Championship again. We have swapped engineers with the #3 car and now have Steve Cole looking after us for the season but, other than that, there are no significant differences to how we finished last year so we definitely look at it in terms of picking up where we left off. The 2006 season will certainly be another very competitive one and each race is bound to be hard fought whether it's against our team mates or against Aston Martin, Saleen, or any other cars that might be in the Championship.
"It would be great to start with a win at Sebring, to end up finishing there where I think we deserve to finish. Our results for the last 3 years haven't been the best; every year we've had one problem or another with something happening when we were either leading the race or in a strong position and it's all gone away. But, to be honest, that's all part of the character of Sebring, the fact that you always have to expect the unexpected.
"It's a bonus that Jan can now be with us in the car [changes in Magnussen's plans have unexpectedly freed up his schedule] as he fits in extremely well, is a great driver and a huge plus to not only to our car but to the whole team. He also knows what it takes to do well at Sebring which, as we all know, is a very hard race.
"There's no one element which makes it harder than any other but a combination of many. Some years are harder than others because it can be extremely hot in race week and in these GT1 cars it can be very physical and mentally quite tough when it's hot. I think also, because it's the first race of the season and the longest race in the ALMS, there is an element of unpredictability which you don't always find in other rounds. It's very bumpy, there's lots of cornering on a high load track with fast corners, hard braking, it's quite technical as regards set up, narrow in places, wide in others. Mix all of that together, as well as a spread of ability in terms of teams running cars and their drivers, and it ends up being a very eventful and unpredictable race. You can't ever say put all your money on this car or that car, it's impossible to do. Well, you could but I prefer my risks to be much more calculated!"