GREAT TO BE BACK Oliver Gavin's reflections on Portland It was another hot one, and another close one, but this time the "Ollies" came out on top and triumphed in the GT1 class in the 6th round of the American Le Mans Series in Portland, ...
GREAT TO BE BACK
Oliver Gavin's reflections on Portland
It was another hot one, and another close one, but this time the "Ollies" came out on top and triumphed in the GT1 class in the 6th round of the American Le Mans Series in Portland, Oregon. Oliver Gavin reflects on what the West Coast win meant to him.
"The victory was special for a number of reasons. Coming in the 50th year of racing for the Corvette brand, it was the 50th race win for the Pratt & Miller-run Corvette Racing team. It also means that Olivier Beretta, my driving partner, has now had 28 class wins which is more than any other driver in ALMS history. Having started our great winning streak [brought to a halt in Lime Rock a few weeks ago] at Portland, it was good to be here when we broke through again and Olivier had an all round good weekend with pole position and fastest race lap.
"It was a long, hot race, with temperatures approaching 100oF outside the car and a whole lot hotter in it! Right from start of the weekend we knew it was going to be very hard, not just because of the heat but also because Portland is a busy track to drive round. There's only one real area of rest which is down the front straight but, as we are still power handicapped, we are pushing 100% the whole way and there's no chance to rest.
"The air conditioning system we have in the C6.Rs wasn't functioning and we think that sand from around the Salt Lake track got into the system last week and bunged it up. Neither car had its full cooling system working, and the air being blown into the car at the level of our faces was so hot it made it hard to breathe. It was even worse for Olivier in his first stint as he couldn't get his drinks tube plugged in so he wasn't able to drink anything for over an hour but, by the time of my stint in the middle of the race, it was a bit cooler. I was still toast by the end though; it was really, really hot.
"The nice thing about the weekend was that the car behaved fantastically and was very consistent. Our tyres did go away towards the end of each stint, but Portland is extremely hard on tyres and it was an issue for everybody. We had to manage that, to make sure we had a consistent performance throughout, but we still got some drop off in the lap times.
"In the race we had our work cut out as far as traffic is concerned, but the pit stops for our car were extremely good and the competition dropped away for various reasons. Until then it had been a very close race but I think we just had fewer issues than anyone else.
"Despite the great result it wasn't an easy weekend so in some ways I'm glad it's over. Before this weekend we were losing our advantage in the Championship race, and the points standing was starting to slide. This has now given us a leg up, so it's full steam ahead to Road America."