Oliver Gavin reunited with old friends at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium At yesterday's official test day for the Spa 24 Hours, Oliver Gavin turned his first laps for the French Luc Alphand Aventures team alongside his good friend and regular ALMS...
Oliver Gavin reunited with old friends at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
At yesterday's official test day for the Spa 24 Hours, Oliver Gavin turned his first laps for the French Luc Alphand Aventures team alongside his good friend and regular ALMS team mate, Olivier Beretta, and new endurance team mates Vincent Vosse and Greg Franchi, both from Belgium, and Spa specialists.
As well as seeing Beretta for the first time since Le Mans two weeks ago, Oliver was reunited with another old friend. The Corvette C6.R that he drove yesterday was his 2006 ALMS Championship-winning chassis, although he rarely had to drive it in such bad weather conditions as were set in at the infamously intemperate Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
"It wasn't a brilliant day, to be honest," said Oliver just after he left the track at the end of the day. "It rained all day so we didn't really manage to achieve anything constructive either with Michelin or on set up which was a bit frustrating. All four of us were about the same speed though, and we all got laps in the car so that was important.
"It was the first time I've been to Spa since 1999 and there's obviously been a few changes. The last two corners have changed a lot [new for everyone this year], and there's no real Bus Stop chicane any more. It's now a hairpin right and then a hairpin left into the pit straight. It's really slow but I think it will make for some good racing as it creates opportunities to overtake.
"Luc Alphand Aventures will be based in the new F1 garages for the 24 Hour race, which are huge, with big hospitality units over them. For the sportcar races we will have to drive through both the new and old pit lanes, exiting at the top of Eau Rouge, which will be a bit of a pain but I guess it will be the same for everyone.
"I suppose the weather yesterday was typical Spa weather and there's every chance it could be like that at the end of the month too so it was good practice. The Luc Alphand Aventures team were extremely welcoming, and I'm really looking forward to my first race in Europe (other than Le Mans) since 2004. Before then, of course, I'm off to Lime Rock for the sixth round of the ALMS and the special challenge of adapting from not one, but two, large 24-hour courses to the smallest track we ever race at. I love a challenge though and Olivier and I want to get back to winning races after the disappointment of Le Mans."
-credit: fiona miller/ogPR