Corvette Racing's Oliver Gavin will be traveling to California this week with a view to boosting his ALMS Championship points tally after a difficult start to the 2010 season. Racing in front of the Corvette Legends of Le Mans at the six-hour American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 21-22, round three of the ALMS, the Briton will once again be taking his Corvette C6.R into the thick of an intense GT battle.
“Olivier [Beretta] and I seem to have been very unlucky so far this year, and our season hasn't really got going yet,” says the 37-year-old, three-time GT1 champion, now fully recovered from his impressive record run of 2:54.19 for the BRDC team in the recent London Marathon. “More than anything, we are looking for a solid and straightforward performance at Laguna. We need to get some serious points registered for the championship as Flying Lizard Motorsports, Risi Competizione and our sister car are disappearing rapidly up the road.”
Gavin says the Monterey venue is a personal favorite on a number of levels.
“I'm really looking forward to going back to California as Laguna Seca is a great track and the Monterey Peninsula area is fantastic," he said. "The race will be slightly different this year from previous ones as it's not only in a different spot in the calendar – midseason instead of the final round – but it's also six hours instead of four. I believe that's a good thing for us as we don't have to charge along in first few hours and take any unnecessary risks; we just have to stay on the lead lap.
“There's likely to be plenty of cautions and incidents with 30-plus cars in the field, it makes for a full racetrack. Additionally, the track surface is always very dusty, which adds to the challenges. Our GT class in particular is super competitive and there's usually nothing in it between seven or eight cars, as we've seen both at Sebring and Long Beach. The GT class drives around in a high-speed train and it only really gets broken up when there's an incident, or when you come against faster or slower traffic. You have to be 100 percent on top of your game and concentrating fully; you can't afford one slip-up, otherwise you won't finish in the top five let alone on the podium.
“Last year, our GT2 car worked extremely well at this track, and we got a good setup, so I feel confident we'll have the car to challenge everybody and be in the fight at the front. Whether Ferrari and Porsche have any new updates to bring to this endurance round, we'll have to wait and see. It's the last round before we head to Le Mans in June for the 24 Hour race, so it's a good chance for us all to prove our mettle in the longer-distance races.”
Saturday's race airs on a delayed basis on Sunday, May 29 at 1:30 p.m. ET on CBS.