Gavin, Milner strong in the open to push No. 64 Corvette C7.R to GTE Pro lead.
Le Mans, France – Corvette Racing powered its way through the GTE Pro field and into the lead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the first six hours. All three drivers of the No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R put in impressive lap times to go along with quick pit work by the Corvette Racing crew as Jordan Taylor ran second six hours into the event.
Oliver Gavin drove two stints to open and moved from seventh at the start to fourth during his time in the Corvette. The four-time Le Mans winner was involved in a number of tight battles including a three-way fight between himself, Richie Stanaway and James Calado; it was close but fair driving between all three.
I was able to get by the Porsches and started to catch up to the Aston Martins.
Tommy Milner drove three stints on the same Michelin tires, and the 2011 class winner was impressive the entire way. He went from sixth – where he slotted in the field after leaving pit lane – and took the lead for the first time following a safety-car period caused by a crash between one of the leading Audis and GT traffic. The next stint-and-a-half saw Milner battle both Darren Turner and Fernando Rees in separate GTE Pro entries, and the American held the position for nearly of his final stint.
Taylor rejoined in fourth place following a stop for fuel, tires and the driver change. In his first year driving at Le Mans with Gavin and Milner, Taylor picked up two spots to second place by the six-hour mark.
Oliver Gavin, No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: “It was nice to be able to fight with all our competitors. I was able to get by the Porsches and started to catch up to the Aston Martins. I finally got with the Richie Stanaway car when the safety car period closed us up. Then the James Calado car was right behind us. It was quite a nice battle with those guys - first off by passing Richie and then I was able to open up a little gap. Toward the end of the stint, they were very strong. We need the track to come to us a little bit more and get more rubbered in. After that we should be pretty strong on lap time.
“But just toward the end of that stint, Richie caught me and was putting some pretty big pressure. Coming through the first and second chicanes, and then at Mulsanne he pretty much dive-bombed me. As we came off the corner, James had gotten a good run and we were three-wide going to Indianapolis Corner; I think we had a little bit of advantage on straight-line speed on most people. But James was on my side draft, and he managed to get on the inside going into Indianapolis. As we came through, Richie got a little run on me and threw it into Arnage to get by. At that point, I thought, ‘There are 22 hours left; I’m not going to fight this’ and let him have it. So I settled in to follow them around.
“It was good fun and good racing. We managed to keep it clean. Everyone had good respect for each other. That’s what the fans want to see. I really enjoyed it. The car is good and clean with no marks on it. We’re ready to take the fight to the rest of the field. Hopefully we can continue to march on up the order.”
Tommy Milner, No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: “That was fun! From the reactions I got getting out of the car it seems like it was an exciting stint to watch, too. I’m happy with car right now. All we have to do now is to let the track come to us. We’re just trying to put laps down. We know we have a competitive car over a couple of stints, so now we have to make laps and not make mistakes. We just have to get to the end. If we can do that I’m sure we’ll be in a good position.”