Victory a good warmup for Le Mans
When the No.1 Callaway Competition Corvette Z06.R GT3 took the chequered flag at the end of yesterday’s race two at the Red Bull Ring, it rounded off a superb weekend for Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin (in photo, from a previous outing) and his German ADAC GT Masters team mate, Daniel Keilwitz. Two pole positions, two race wins and a record in the ADAC GT Masters for the fastest average speed in a race – it was definitely a clean sweep for the Briton – who now heads immediately to the 24 Hours of Le Mans where he will be competing with Corvette Racing in the LMGTE Pro category.
After notching up one victory on Saturday, Gavin and Keilwitz followed up with another on Sunday, the victory being all the sweeter for Keilwitz as he also achieved a double win at the Austrian circuit 12 months ago.
After Saturday’s first race, Olly commented, “Once we got our tyres up to temperature after the first few laps we were able to pretty much drive away. We were being careful with our fuel conservation to give Daniel the best chance in the second half of the race, and it all went brilliantly to plan. The pit stop was good and to be honest the race was very straightforward. We then just knew that we had to do it all again on Sunday.”
With 30kg success ballast for the second race, Keilwitz had a more difficult start and was passed by the Chevrolet Camaro and the second Callaway Competition Corvette. The leading pair then proceeded to pull out a five-second lead on the pursuing pack before discovering that they had each been handed a five-second penalty for an infringement at the start, which was to be served during the driver changeover.
But as the pit stop window was opening, a spin by the RWT Racing Team Corvette brought the safety car out onto the track. The entire field took advantage of the safety car deployment to dash into the pit lane and change drivers, and the pit stop was where Enge's impressive run in the Reiter Camaro came to an end. As he was pulling out of the penalty box after serving his five-second sentence, the drive shaft sheared on his car and the immobile Camaro blocked Bleekemolen in the Callaway Corvette who was serving his penalty at the same time, robbing the Dutchman of valuable seconds. The outcome was that Olly and Daniel’s previously third-placed Corvette emerged from the pits at the head of the pack. Olly controlled the lead in the second half of the race and steered the Corvette across the line to claim a second win of the weekend, this time by a margin of 1.6 seconds.
"Daniel drove brilliantly in the first stint of the race and kept us up with the leaders," said Gavin, singing his team-mate's praises. "When the two front-runners were both handed penalties, we were quick to seize our chance. I hope that Daniel can use this double victory to form the basis of a successful title challenge in the second half of the season.
“That was a tough race though,” added the Englishman. "It was pure unadulterated motorsport, with nobody giving an inch. Winning both races here is such a fantastic feeling; it's far more than we expected.”