OLIVER GAVIN’S A-Z OF LE MANS
A...American Le Mans Series, our racing home from home.
B...Brian Hoye, my crew chief who keeps everyone on the No.4 car on the straight and narrow!
C...Corvette Racing, this year going for an 8th class win, and the great, race-winning C6.R.
D...determination, dedication and devotion to duty...the watchwords for the whole team.
E...stands for engineers and engineering – Doug Louth, Chuck Houghton and Kyle Millay step forward. Oh, and endurance, the best type of racing in the world.
F...Fehan, the boss, he who must be obeyed, our greatest advocate and critic!!
G...great GT competition from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche and Viper. Let the battles begin.
H...Helen, my wife, without whose support I would be lost. My family come to Le Mans each year to cheer me on which means a lot to me.
I...there’s no ‘i’ in team - no one person is responsible for success (or failure), it’s a team effort.
J...for June – the annual pilgrimage to France for the world’s biggest sportscar race.
K...knowledge. A London cab driver has to pass ‘The Knowledge’ exam before he is licensed to take passengers. I believe a driver needs several years to acquire enough Le Mans knowledge to successfully deal with the event, on track and off.
L...long! The track, the week, the race…every year you find new and improved ways to cope (see above about needing several years to acquire said knowledge).
M...magical, mythical, massive, memorable, marathon, mind-blowing…so many ways to describe the 24 Hours.
N...night. Some drivers hate it but I love it – it’s cooler, the field is usually spread out a little more, and you can get into a good rhythm for 2-3 hours. Compared to Daytona, the hours of complete darkness at Le Mans are relatively short.
O...optimum preparation necessary to succeed in endurance racing.
P...pressure; you can either embrace it or be swallowed up by it. And Pratt, Gary and Robin; Corvette Racing wouldn’t be the team it is without them.
Q...is for qualifying. Those pole position trophies are impressive, but not sure we’ll get one this year as the Astons seem very fast…
R...is for PR! We said goodbye at the beginning of the year to our esteemed, long-time media guru, Rick Voegelin, and now welcome the newest member of the team, Ryan Smith.
S... Slick tyres. If it’s a dry race we will use about 14 sets of tyres and, following the test weekend, we ALL want a dry race.
T...is for Tommy [Milner] and Tan Man, otherwise known as Richard Westbrook, my team mates.
U...unending and universal. The week at Le Mans can sometimes feel unending but that’s overshadowed by the fact that it’s universally followed: 250,000 spectators, over 2000 media, hundreds of millions of TV viewers.
V...Vingt-Quatre Heures du Mans. The reason we all go sports car racing.
W...Winning, especially at the big events. We’ve conquered Petit Le Mans and Sebring in the last few years, now it’s time for Le Mans to come the way of the No.4 again. It’s been too long since our last victory (2006).
X...is for X-factor. No one element makes a successful team; it’s a combination of the car, the drivers, the engine, the tires, the team, and that X-factor...usually provided by Lady Luck.
Y...youth, combined with experience and expertise; Corvette’s driver line up to the letter.
Z...Zzzzzz. Sleep; what everyone becomes obsessed with at Le Mans. Our Corvette Racing compound in the paddock is where the drivers sleep, eat and relax for the week.