International GT racing star Oliver Gavin this weekend successfully achieved one of his childhood dreams: to drive at Bathurst in Australia. That is what the Corvette Racing four-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner will take away from his most recent visit ‘Down Under’, and the disappointment of not finishing the race due to an engine problem will fade alongside a truly memorable experience.
Olly reflected afterwards: “I really enjoyed my time at Bathurst and it was great to drive on such a fantastic track. The results from the race weren’t what anyone from Rotek wanted which is a huge shame as we were in a very strong position, but that’s racing sometimes. The failure of the valve spring was completely out of the blue.
Entered in the Class B Rotek Racing Audi R8 LMS for the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours, alongside WTCC Champion Rob Huff, Richard Meins and Kevin Gleason, Olly showed his championship-winning class as a driver by storming to class pole position in qualifying after only ten laps around the infamously tricky Mount Panorama circuit in New South Wales.
With a big field on the narrow confines of the 6.2km track, Olly’s huge bank of experience at endurance events was put to the test by the team when he was elected to start the race. He passed that particular Aussie driving test with flying colours – moving from 13th overall to 8th within the first 18 laps, sitting among the Class A front runners and never losing the Class B leadership and even leading the race overall on two occasions.
Unfortunately, after he handed over to Richard Meins, the Audi’s engine started misfiring. As Rob Huff took to the wheel for the start of his two-hour stint the situation got worse and he was forced to bring the car into the garage for checks. A broken valve spring was diagnosed and the car was forced to retire from the event after around one third distance.
Olly’s next race will be the second round of the 2014 TUDOR United Sportscar Championship –the 12 Hours of Sebring – in March.