GAVIN HOPEFUL NO. 4 CORVETTE CAN RETURN TO WINNING WAYS AT LIME ROCK Braselton, Ga. - They had a plan, and they were sticking to it. No talk of potential Aston Martin dominance or could make those associated with Corvette Racing wander off...
GAVIN HOPEFUL NO. 4 CORVETTE CAN RETURN TO WINNING WAYS AT LIME ROCK
Braselton, Ga. - They had a plan, and they were sticking to it. No talk of potential Aston Martin dominance or could make those associated with Corvette Racing wander off course at Le Mans. And so the team did what had done three of the previous four years: go out and win in class at Le Mans.
Now it's back to the task at hand: continue the quest for fifth straight American Le Mans Series GT1 team championship for Corvette Racing. The next step is the New England Grand Prix, Round 4 of the ALMS, on July 4 at Lime Rock Park. Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin are the defending class champions. And like last year, they are coming off class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in their bright yellow Corvette.
"What we achieved was a great result," said Gavin, who partnered with Beretta and Jan Magnussen at Le Mans to beat Aston Martin Racing's two DBR9s. "The Le Mans 24 Hours is a case of being fast but also extremely patient. It's about sticking to a game plan and not getting carried away. That is something that runs throughout the whole team. You have to make sure everything is strong and super, super reliable. It's another thing that just bore fruit. When the heat and pressure were on, the C6-R ran faultlessly. We had no problem at all."
That's pretty much the entire ALMS season in a nutshell for Corvette. Except for Sebring (won by Aston Martin), Corvette Racing's two C6-Rs have finished 1-2 in class at every race this year, including Le Mans. Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, in the No. 3 Corvette, are riding a two-race winning streak in the ALMS. Gavin and Beretta were poised to win at Mid-Ohio in May, but the team was penalized for a pit crew infraction that cost the No. 4 entry 20 seconds and the race victory.
"There is always a very healthy rivalry between the two cars," Gavin said. "Yes, we would have loved to have won a race in the ALMS this year, and we're sure it will come."
Fellows agrees. He said the No. 4 duo is too talented and too good to go winless this year. Mind you, Fellows isn't complaining about his victories this year. After all, he and O'Connell now have 23 career wins, tied for the most in series history.
"They've been a little unlucky," Fellows said. "They had Sebring covered and had an incident with a slower car that probably took victory away from them. At Atlanta and Mid-Ohio, they certainly were very close. Those guys did an absolutely terrific job at Le Mans. They were a little bit quicker than us, and that proved to be the difference. To be honest, I'm not that disappointed not to win Le Mans. To get a team 1-2 feels pretty good."
Both Gavin and Beretta felt comfortable last year at Lime Rock, and it showed on the speed sheets. They don't see why this year will be any different, which could lead to a tight race for the class driver's championship as the season winds down.
"I quite like the track, and I think Olivier does too," Gavin said. "It might remind us of some of the tracks we raced on in Europe. I was very happy with winning at Le Mans, but I think there is a little bit of unfinished businesses. We have to wait and see if this is our year."
The New England Grand Prix, Round 4 of the ALMS, is set for 3 p.m. July 4 at Lime Rock Park. SPEED Channel will provide live coverage, along with American Le Mans Series Radio at www.americanlemans.com.