Factory Corvette driver Oliver Gavin endured late heartache in a 24 hour race for the second time this season after SRT were hit by engine problems in the final stages of the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Gavin – and Maxime Soulet - had been called into the SRT team to join forces with regular drivers Bert Longin and James Ruffier and the #3 Corvette C6.R ran strongly at the front throughout the race before hitting problems in the 22nd hour.
Those engine problems forced the team to watch on from the sidelines before the ailing car returned to the track for the final lap to ensure classification as a finisher – albeit down it 19th place.
“I'm desperately disappointed for the whole SRT team who made such a fantastic effort this week,” Gavin said. “They are a very small, family-run operation but they did a really great job here running the Corvette C6.R which is an unbelievable car. Before the race I think a lot of people were looking at them and asking if they were sure they could run a front-running car but they've proven they can run at the front with the best. Their pit stops were excellent and they did an awful lot within the confines of their resources.
“Despite the result , I really enjoyed the race and had a lot of fun. Spa's a fast track so you really had to work at getting past people, and had to think hard about where you were going to do it. I kept finding spots and places to pass, then would think “oh, that worked well, I'll try that again”. Strategy came into it all the way, the different weather conditions, fuel loads, whether you had new tyres on or not and so on. It's good to have to think that hard and then see the right results!
“Up until the 22nd hour there were three of us all racing against each other for the lead and it was really close. I was in the car for a double stint as Saturday turned into Sunday and up against Pedro Lamy in the #2 Maserati for quite a while and then we raced again in the morning. We'd have newer, fresher tyres and would catch up with him and pass, then he'd pit and we'd be dicing again for the lead; it was great battling, very close and fair.
“If SRT couldn't win, then I'm pleased that the all-Belgian Peka Racing Corvette won. Well done to them. It's a great way to sign off the GT1 Corvette into the endurance racing history books.”