Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta used a pit stop to jump ahead of their teammates in the #3 Corvette C6.R and the duo never looked back as they won Saturday’s Detroit Sports Car Challenge. The #4 Corvette C6.R completed 100 laps and finished one minute and 7.3 seconds ahead of Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen. The #008 Bell Motorsports Aston Martin DBR9 finished third in class, seven laps behind the Corvettes.
The win was done in classic form as Gavin started the race four spots behind Magnussen. Gavin cleared the three GT2 cars that were in front him and by lap 10 he was off to catch Magnussen. The two Corvettes pitted during a caution at the 40 minute mark for tires, fuel and driver changes. Beretta and the number 4 Corvette C6.R emerged from the pits first in class with O’Connell in hot pursuit.
“It’s been a rough season for us, but if you’re going to win anywhere, Detroit is the one you want to win,” said Gavin. “Everybody on the team was very focused on this event, and it was a hard, close race for many laps. I have to thank all of the guys on the No. 4 Corvette C6.R – they’ve worked brilliantly over the last few events. I haven’t been so kind to this car, I’ve had some incidents and accidents, but they’ve fixed it fantastically. (Crew chief) Mike West and (engineer) Steve Cole have worked magic, setting up the car and getting it good for the races. We’ve been fast in every event, and finally it’s all fallen into place for the No. 4 Corvette.”
“I need to thank my crew because they work hard on the pit stops, and they work hard at the shop even when we are having bad luck,” said Beretta. “We have been quick all year, but even when we didn’t achieve what we wanted to do, they never gave up. That is the spirit of Corvette Racing.”
The two Corvettes again pitted together at 1:43 with Gavin and Magnussen taking over for Beretta and O’Connell. Magnussen mounted a late-race charge on Gavin but this time luck turned on the #3 C6.R as the safety car came between the two Corvettes during a full course race caution. The #4 Corvette gained nearly a lap on their teammates and were able to seal the victory.
“We were looking good up until the first stop when the other car beat us out of the pits,” said Magnussen. “I think in traffic and over a long run we had a really good car. At the end when I was trying to attack, we got caught out with the safety car between us and lost a lap. That’s just how it is. The No. 4 Corvette has been so unlucky all year, it’s about time some luck went their way.”
Gavin agreed: “The race did hinge on the first pit stop,” the Briton explained. “It was a short fuel fill and the other car did have a small problem. Olivier withstood the pressure from Johnny, and Jan was pushing me hard but I managed to resist that. Our car was much improved from qualifying. We were aiming to run this differential and this setup just to see if we could improve our performance on street circuits. Today it all went according to plan.”
The Corvette Racing team will be heading to Road Atlanta for the 1,000 mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans on Saturday, October 4th. SPEED will televise the race live starting at 11am.
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving