Oliver Gavin admitted it was good to be back after the Corvette Racing team made its return to the American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio.
Having brought the curtain down on its ultra-successful GT1 programme following the Le Mans 24 Hours, Mid-Ohio marked the first outing for Corvette's new GT2 machine – putting the factory team up against rivals from the likes of Porsche, Ferrari and BMW.
Gavin and team-mate Olivier Beretta ran well throughout the race but ultimately missed out on a podium to the Rahal Letterman Racing BMW of Tom Milner and Dirk Muller, although Gavin was still pleased with the way the race panned out.
“I had a huge amount of fun, and the whole weekend went extremely well for the new GT2 car which is very encouraging,” he said. “We were new to the class so a little unsure where we'd fit in amongst the competition but we proved we could mix it up with everyone except perhaps the fastest Flying Lizard Porsche. The race was fantastic and all the Corvette drivers had loads of fun.
“It was, as we expected, very competitive and I must have swapped paint with nearly every GT car in the class as there was plenty of bumping and banging going on. It started before I even got over the start line as the Farnbacher Porsche gave me a good smack on the formation lap!
“Once we got going it took about ten laps to be the tyres up to temperature and then the fun really started. We had a good strategy which got both Corvettes into podium positions, and the car was going well even when it was raining a bit which made the track tricky for a while. I think Jan [Magnussen, in the #3 Corvette] must have scared quite a few of the Challenge Cup cars because they all seemed to be spinning right in front of me, just after he'd been past them! I thanked him specially afterwards for throwing all those mobile chicanes in my way...”
With Jan Magnussen and Johnny O'Connell taking second in the sister car, Corvette was able to secure a double top-four finish from its debut with the new C6.R – a result Gavin admitted was a good start to the programme.
“The result of second and fourth for our two cars was a great first time out in GT2, even if it was a bit frustrating for Olivier and I to lose third place to the BMW towards the end,” he said. “It was a shame that the caution period/safety car split the field as otherwise I think there could have been a five-way fight for the lead. That would have been even more fun!”