Corvette Racing Driver Profile: Oliver Gavin

Oliver Gavin Drives: No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R

Co-drivers: Tommy Milner, Richard Westbrook (endurance races)

Birthdate: Sept. 29, 1972

Birthplace: Huntington, England

Residence: Yardley Hastings, England

Family: Wife Helen, children Lily, Isaac, Fergus

Notable: Three-time ALMS GT1 champion, 34 career ALMS class victories, four class wins in 24 Hours of Le Mans

Web site: www.olivergavin.com

Twitter: @olivergavin

 

American Le Mans Series Career Record

Year

Starts

Wins

Fast Qualifier

Notes

2000

1

0

0

LMP900 with Jon Field

2001

2

1

1

First ALMS win for Saleen

2002

3

2

0

First season with Corvette Racing

2003

8

2

4

Third in GT1 drivers championship

2004

9

4

4

Second in GT1 drivers championship

2005

10

6

2

ALMS GT1 co-champion (with Beretta)

2006

10

4

0

ALMS GT1 co-champion (with Beretta)

2007

12

9

4

ALMS GT1 co-champion (with Beretta)

2008

11

3

2

Second in GT1 drivers championship

2009

7

1

1

Ran GT1 two events, GT2 five events

2010

9

1

1

Won Petit Le Mans

2011

9

1

0

Second in GT driver championship

Total

91

34

19

 

 

24 Hours of Le Mans Record

Year

Finish

Class

Car

Co-drivers

2001

3rd

GTS

Saleen

Borcheller, Konrad

2002

1st

GTS

Corvette C5-R

Fellows, O'Connell

2003

2nd

GTS

Corvette C5-R

Collins, Pilgrim

2004

1st

GTS

Corvette C5-R

Beretta, Magnussen

2005

1st

GT1

Corvette C6.R

Beretta, Magnussen

2006

1st

GT1

Corvette C6.R

Beretta, Magnussen

2007

14th

GT1

Corvette C6.R

Beretta, Papis

2008

3rd

GT1

Corvette C6.R

Beretta, Papis

2009

4th

GT1

Corvette C6.R

Beretta, Fassler

2010

10th
(Ret.)

GT2

Corvette C6.R

Beretta, Collard

2011

11th
(Ret.)

GTE Pro

Corvette C6.R

Magnussen, Westbrook

 

Career Highlights

  • 1991: British Formula First champion (11 wins), McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award

  • 1992: British Formula Vauxhall Championship runner-up

  • 1993: British Formula 3 Championship runner-up

  • 1995: British Formula 3 champion (six wins)

  • 1996: Competed in International Touring Car Championship (Opel)

  • 1997: Competed in International Formula 3000 Championship>

  • 2000: Competed in Grand-Am Championship (Lola)

  • 200l: One ALMS win (Saleen); two Grand-Am wins (Lola), won GTS pole at 24 Hours of Le Mans (Saleen)

  • 2002: GTS winner in 24 hours of Le Mans, two ALMS wins with Corvette Racing (Sebring, Atlanta)

  • 2003: Two ALMS wins with Corvette Racing (Atlanta, Trois-Rivieres), third in drivers championship

  • 2004: GTS winner in 24 Hours of Le Mans, four ALMS wins (Lime Rock, Mosport, Elkhart Lake, Atlanta) with Corvette C5-R

  • 2005: ALMS GT1 co-champion, six wins; GT1 winner, 24 Hours of Le Mans (Corvette C6.R)

  • 2006: ALMS GT1 co-champion, five wins; GT1 winner, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Sebring 12-hour (Corvette C6.R)

  • 2007: ALMS GT1 co-champion, nine wins (tied ALMS single-season record); GT1 winner at Sebring 12-hour and Petit Le Mans (Corvette C6.R); four poles and three fastest race laps

  • 2008: Second in ALMS GT1 drivers championship with three victories; runner-up in GT1 class at 24 Hours of Le Mans; two poles and five fastest race laps; finished in London Marathon.

  • 2009: Won final race for Corvette C6.R in ALMS GT1 at Long Beach, Calif.; was leading GT1 class at 24 Hours of Le Mans at 22-hour mark before mechanical problem caused retirement; finished fourth in Corvette Racing's GT2 debut at Mid-Ohio and third at Mosport.

  • 2010: Fastest qualifier in GT2 at 24 Hours of Le Mans, leading race after spirited duel with Risi Ferrari before teammate Collard was forced off track; ran fastes race lap after crew repaired car. Won Petit Le Mans season finale with dramatic last-lap pass after class-leading Ferrari ran out of fuel. Podium finishes at Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, and Road America (where Gavin won the GT2 pole) highlighted the season.

  • 2011: Won Grand Prix of Mosport with teammate Jan Magnussen, extending his streak of winning at least one ALMS event to 11 years. Finished second in GT driver championship with Magnussen after runner-up finishes at Long Beach and Mid-Ohio and third-place finish in inaugural Baltimore street race.

 

With his rich accent and polished manners, Oliver Gavin may seem the quintessential Englishman, but he has successfully adapted to racing in America. He is teamed with young American driver Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R in 2012, joined by Englishman Richard Westbrook for three endurance events (Sebring, Le Mans, Petit Le Mans).

A native of Cambridgeshire, Gavin won multiple championships in British open-wheel formula cars before scoring his first victory with Corvette Racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2002. He became a full-season Corvette driver in 2003, and won three consecutive American Le Mans Series GT1 drivers championships with Corvette Racing teammate Olivier Beretta in 2005-07. Gavin and Beretta tallied a record-tying nine victories en route to their third straight championship in 2007.

Recognized as one of the world's brightest talents in sports car competition, Gavin has an impressive resume of victories and track records. He began his racing career in karting in the '80s, competing in British national series. In 1990, Gavin moved up to single-seaters and promptly won the British National Formula First Series in 1991, scoring 11 wins in 12 races. This remarkable season earned Gavin the prestigious McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year award. The following year he finished second in the British Formula Vauxhall Championship. In 1993, Gavin moved up to the highly regarded British Formula 3 Championship and finished as runner-up in the drivers championship.

In 1994, Gavin competed in the FIA International F3000 championship. Returning to British Formula 3 in 1995, he dominated the series with six victories and won the championship while also working as a test driver for the Pacific Formula 1 team. In the late '90s Gavin competed in the International Touring Car series as a factory Opel driver while also working as a Formula 1 test driver for Benetton and Renault (1997-2005) and driving the safety car during the Formula 1 season.

In 2002, Gavin was named as the third driver for Chevrolet's Corvette Racing program. Teamed with Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, Gavin scored his first class win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the trio swept all three endurance events in the GTS class (Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans). In 2003, Gavin was selected for as a full-season driver in the Corvette C5-R in the American Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to four record-setting pole positions, Gavin captured two GTS victories en route to finishing third in the drivers championship.

In 2004 Gavin posted his second class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with co-drivers Beretta and Jan Magnussen in the Corvette C5-R. The trio also won Petit Le Mans. Gavin and Beretta scored a total of four wins in the ALMS in 2004, and finished as runners-up in the championship to their Corvette teammates.

2005 was a championship season for Gavin, as he and Beretta shared the GT1 title with the new Corvette C6.R. The pair posted six victories in the 10-race ALMS series. Again teamed with Magnussen in endurance events, the trio won the GT1 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second straight year and repeated as winners of Petit Le Mans.

Gavin and Beretta repeated as GT1 co-champions in 2006, scoring a runner-up finish in the season finale at Laguna Seca to seal the title. The pair scored five victories in a season marked by frequent performance adjustments that affected the speed of their Corvette. Gavin captured his third straight GT1 Le Mans title and his first Sebring 12-hour victory with Beretta and Magnussen.

In 2007, Gavin and Beretta reeled off nine wins in 12 races to capture their third consecutive GT1 drivers championship. The pair won the GT1 class in the season-opening Sebring 12-hour endurance race for the second straight year and notched their third victory in the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans, with Max Papis joining the driver roster for endurance races. The team's biggest disappointment came at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where a broken driveshaft sidelined their Corvette C6.R at the two-hour mark and ended their bid for a fourth consecutive class victory in the world's most famous sports car race. Gavin also drove a Corvette C6.R in selected FIA GT races with the French Luc Alphand Aventures team.

Gavin's string of GT1 titles came to an end in 2008 as the pairing of O'Connell and Magnussen claimed the class championship in their sister Corvette C6.R. Gavin and Beretta made motorsports history by scoring the first win with E85R cellulosic ethanol in St. Petersburg, Fla. They also won on the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix circuit and finished the season with a victory at Laguna Seca.

The 2009 season marked a transition for Gavin and Corvette Racing. The team began the season in the GT1 category, with Beretta and Gavin scoring the final ALMS GT1 victory for the Corvette C6.R in Long Beach, Calif. After the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Corvette Racing introduced the all-new GT2 version of the Corvette C6.R at Mid-Ohio. Gavin and Beretta finished fourth in the new car's debut, and finished on the podium at Mosport with a third-place finish.

2010 was Corvette Racing's first full season in the GT2 class. Gavin found his stride at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he won the GT2 pole. He led the class after a spirited duel with the Risi Ferrari before teammate Emmanuel Collard was forced off track by a prototype; Gavin then ran the fastest race lap after the crew repaired the heavily damaged car. A midseason driver realignment at Mosport saw Jan Magnussen move to the No. 4 Corvette alongside Gavin; that pairing, along with Collard, won the Petit Le Mans season finale when Gavin made a dramatic last-lap pass after the class-leading Ferrari ran out of fuel. Podium finishes at Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, and Road America (where he also was fastest GT2 qualifier) highlighted Gavin's season.

Gavin notched his 34th career ALMS victory in 2011 when he and co-driver Magnussen won the Grand Prix of Mosport. The win was the Englishman's 34th in ALMS competition, placing him fourth in career victories, and extending his streak of winning at least one ALMS event to 11 consecutive years. Gavin and Magnussen were second in the GT driver championship after runner-up finishes at Long Beach and Mid-Ohio, and a third-place finish in the inaugural Baltimore street race. Gavin, Magnussen, and third driver Richard Westbrook were leading the GTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the 16-hour mark when the car was involved in an accident and subsequently retired.

When not racing, Gavin competes in marathon, biathlon and triathlon events. He resides in Yardley Hastings, Northampton, with his wife, Helen, and children Lily, Isaac and Fergus.