Autosport Awards - 2, Oliver Gavin
Corvette in 2007 – But Where?

Oliver Gavin was the host for the dsc Deputy Ed’s invitation to the Autosport Awards yesterday evening, at a table packed with his long time friends and backers.

Gavin’s 2007 plans are already clear – sort of! His retention by Corvette Racing was never in any doubt: the tall Englishman is a firm favourite both with the team and the fans, and his second consecutive ALMS GT1 class title and third consecutive Le Mans class win last season will have done a great deal to further cement the respect with which he is viewed.

What isn’t yet clear though is where Oliver Gavin will be racing: with the GT1 balance of performance issue still hanging heavily over the category, Corvette Racing is well known to have looked at the alternative of bringing the C6.Rs to compete in Europe, should the chosen solution to the issue not be to its liking.

Wherever the yellow cars race next year, there’s that twinkle in the eye as discussion turns to the season ahead and the season just completed:

“Whatever the politics the racing last season was great. All credit to the Aston Martin boys for helping to make it the season on track that it was. Prodrive is a very professional team and they, like Corvette, have excellent drivers, no weak links anywhere. That’s what it needs.

“What doesn’t always get across though is the absolutely immense amount of work that goes on in the background. There are some phenomenally talented people both back at the race shop and in our pit crew. They are a major part of what makes Corvette racing as good as it is, and what makes it so much of a buzz to be part of it too.”

On a night where so much attention focussed on the F1 scene, an aspect of your career which was really ‘so close but yet so far’, what are your thoughts on that time in your career?

“Well I won the Autosport Young Driver award back in 1991 (there was a very young Oliver Gavin pictured in the programme of events to prove it!) and yes I came very close indeed to a race drive with Pacific (Oliver had already tested the F1 car but was refused the F1 super licence for reasons which have never been explained). I prefer though to look back at what I have done and achieved. I have worked hard to take the opportunities that I’ve got and have thoroughly enjoyed the success that has come with it. That’s made even better by being amongst as good a team as we have at Corvette. The reality is though that you can only beat the competition that shows up.

“Corvette Racing is a world class outfit but it has still managed to keep a real family atmosphere. Gary and Robin Pratt and Doug Fehan take enormous trouble to hand pick everyone, from the guy on the refuelling rig, to the engineers and of course the drivers, and that really shows. Everyone is absolutely aware of what they bring to the package and everyone pulls together.

“Every year is really tough, we are matching ourselves against the very best in the world at this game, in both the ALMS and at Le Mans: the real sign of the depth of quality we have though is that we are winning.”

First up for the 2007 season will be a run in the Rolex 24 Hours again, aboard the Dyson Crawford, with Rob and Chris Dyson and Guy Smith:

“It’s always wonderful to be around the Dyson guys. To see the look on Rob’s face when he climbs aboard when the sun comes up at Daytona is something very special. They are always super hungry for the win but they’re racers through and through and I have a huge amount of respect for Rob and Chris. It’s a major privilege to be asked to drive with them.

“We’re going to miss James in the ALMS though. He has been a great friend, he’s given me so much help throughout my time in the USA and of course we’ve had a lot of fun with him too.”

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