Oliver Gavin had a very strong weekend in Long Beach, home of the third round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. A long with team-mate Tommy Milner he ended the 100-minute race in second place in the ultra competitive GT Le Mans class.
Strong pace but bad luck as well as the #4 Corvette C7.R was fighting the class victory but spun with two laps to go after a contact with the #912 Porsche 911 RSR from Porsche North America.
Oliver Gavin gave his thoughts about an action packed event after which he extended his GTLM points lead (after Rolex 24 at Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring victories).
On his opening stint…
I started the car from P4 and had a fairly uneventful first lap. The Porsches ahead were clearly fast, but I managed to overhaul the BMW and had started to pull away from the sister #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
On the pain of the puncture…
Having had a fairly decent start, the car became inconsistent after about 30 minutes. I could see from the monitoring system that the left-front was down on pressure and it was on the next lap that the team came over the radio to confirm the puncture.
The early stop really screwed us. We needed to complete another seven laps to be in the fuel window and fuel-saving from then until the end of the race would seriously effect our pace.
On the full course caution…
As we were short on fuel, we really needed a full course yellow and luck was on our side. Our rivals were given penalties for speeding in the pit lane and the BMW had been penalised for hitting an LMPC car, so we somehow found ourselves in P1 with a 15-second lead, despite Tommy’s fuel-saving. So when an LMPC car ground to a halt, it was just what we needed.
On the incident with the #912 Porsche
At the restart, a sprint to the flag. Tommy did a great job when the track went green, pulling a gap on the sister #3 Corvette that was holding the Porsches back. Unfortunately, Antonio (Garcia) had an off that let the Porsches through and they were soon on our tail.
Then, with two laps to go, the #912 car made a desperate lunge and drilled the back of our car. Round we both went, leaving Nick Tandy in his sister #911 Porsche to slip through for the lead and the win. It was a very frustrating way for the race to finish for all on our car. Saying that, second was still a very strong finish considering everything that happened.
On the Corvette Racing team’s performance and his championship lead…
After our early setback, P2 is a good result for the team. We maximised everything and everybody should be really proud of what they achieved. Tommy and I have got off to a near-perfect start this season and, while there will no doubt be a few twists and turns along the way, we are sitting in a good position right now in terms of the championship.
Quotes from Oliver Gavin Press Release