Gavin: Corvette will bounce back from mediocre Le Mans

Oliver Gavin, a five-time Le Mans 24 Hours class winner with Corvette Racing, is convinced the team will “come back stronger in 2019” after a subdued performance at this year’s race.

Gavin: Corvette will bounce back from mediocre Le Mans
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, #63 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler, pit stop
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler, crew

The Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fassler-driven #64 C7.R was knocked back by two mechanical issues even before retiring with overheating in the morning hours.

Corvette's #63 car piloted by Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller, crossed the line fifth in category, but following the #67 Ford GT’s post-race penalty, was classified fourth.

Gavin told Motorsport.com: “If you look back at the race as a whole – not the headline laptime but how the race progressed – we were always that little bit behind. We could never quite get to the front, if you analyze it hour by hour.

“But we’ll go back and look at where we can improve – that’s been the mantra of the team from all the years I’ve been here. We don’t rest on our laurels, even when we’ve won.

“We want to analyze it, look at where the weaknesses are and also try to improve the strategy, pitstops… Whether it’s the way the car’s set up, whether it’s about working with Michelin or Mobil 1, anything to drive this thing forward and improve the program.

“We will learn from this to come back stronger in 2019.”

Explaining his #64 car’s delays, Gavin said: “First of all, we had a suspension problem which, while I was in the car, was causing us some issues but it was only once we came to the first driver change that it became apparent how bad it was. So we had to make the changes and lost about three laps.

“Tommy [Milner] then had a floor problem, the engine floor, so we ended up about five laps behind and that’s where we ended up throughout – until we had the overheating situation. That was something we were not really expecting, really unfortunate.”

Gavin said there was no chance of recovering from those setbacks.

“As soon as we had the problem with the suspension, any chance of winning had gone,” he commented. “The strength in depth in this class is so strong, as soon as you have any issue that keeps you in the pitbox for more than a lap, you’re never going to get that back.

“You don’t have the speed advantage to make up the time and get the laps back, and the way the pacecars work, there’s no way to work the strategy, it’s very fixed. So that’s frustrating but that’s the race, that’s the way it runs.”

Analyzing the C7.R’s performance relative to the opposition, Gavin felt on par with most of his rivals, but didn’t have enough to get to the front.

“I felt we were relatively equal with BMW and we could race some of the Fords,” he said, “but Porsche did seem to have that little bit extra. But what it came down to – as is often the case in this race – is that little bit of luck.

"And the ‘Pink Pig’ [winning #92 Porsche] got that bit of luck. They got the safety car in between themselves and everyone, and capitalized on that.

“But congratulations to those guys – to Michael [Christensen], to Kevin [Estre] and to Laurens [Vanthoor] – for a fantastic job. It was going to take that to win this class this year.

"It would have been great to have been fighting there at the end with the Porsche and Ford guys but it wasn’t meant to be so we’ll come back and have another crack next year.”

shares
comments
G-Drive LMP2 squad stripped of Le Mans victory

Previous article

G-Drive LMP2 squad stripped of Le Mans victory

Next article

How Alonso's class shone through at Le Mans

How Alonso's class shone through at Le Mans
Load comments
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Prime

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness.

Le Mans
Jun 23, 2021
How an ingenious fix prevented Paul Newman from winning Le Mans Prime

How an ingenious fix prevented Paul Newman from winning Le Mans

It's one of the great what-if stories in Le Mans history. Paul Newman finished second in the 24 Hours in 1979, but it could easily have been a famous victory were it not for the resourcefulness of the late Manfred Kremer.

Le Mans
Apr 13, 2021
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home Prime

The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home

Keeping trophies and momentos of key triumphs is par for the course for motorsport professionals, but what are the most cherished souvenirs picked up by the drivers and engineers who have seen and done it all?

General
Dec 26, 2020
The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era Prime

The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era

Porsche is returning to the top class of Le Mans with an LMDh prototype that it hopes will write its next successful chapter in sportscar racing. But it will have to go some to emulate its 956/962, a car which defines the Group C age more than any other.

Le Mans
Dec 16, 2020
How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend Prime

How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend

He is synonymous with success at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but Tom Kristensen's sportscar legacy amounts to much more than his record-breaking nine Le Mans wins, as the most successful driver ever at Sebring and a world champion to boot…

Le Mans
Dec 7, 2020