Ahead of the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Oliver Gavin has announced that this will be his final professional motor race.
2020 saw Gavin come to the end of his full-time position at Corvette, and it was up in the air as to what the British driver would be doing during the 2021 season. With everything still up in the air due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, nothing had been established, but a late call up from Corvette Racing to partner Antonio Garcia for this weekend’s race pushed Gavin to make his announcement.
The decision comes as Gavin has decided to focus his efforts on his own driving academy business in Europe to help young drivers get on the racing ladder.
“As I transition out of the race car, I open a new chapter with the start of the Oliver Gavin Driving Academy based in Boxberg, Germany.” Gavin said on his retirement. “I am delighted that my 20-year relationship with Chevrolet and Corvette will continue as I have 12 Chevrolet Corvette Stingrays on order. There’s more to come on this over the next few months as we get ready for our launch in October.
“As with everything, family is the most important thing. I can’t thank them enough for their support over the last 30 years, and their support as I move forward with this new role.”
Gavin’s racing career started in 1991, taking part in the British Formula First series, but his first step onto the racing ladder came from him partaking in the 1995 British F3 Championship. For his performance, Gavin secured a test driver role for the Benetton Formula One Team and began pursuing sports car racing during the late 90s. It was the correct decision for Gavin, who went on to join the Chevrolet‘s racing team Corvette Racing in 2002; a 20-year relationship that would see driver and manufacturer secure a Le Mans victory on their debut outing (in 2002), back-to-back class wins between 2004-2006, and a final victory in 2015. Along with his extremely prestigious Le Mans record, Gavin also holds victories at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Motul Petit Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona to his name.
“I’ve been extremely lucky,” Gavin continued. “I’ve raced with some amazing teams: Edenbridge Racing when I was in Formula 3 and Fortec when I was in Formula First. But Corvette Racing has really shaped my career. The people I’ve worked with there, amazing engineers, are just a great group of people.
“It’s just a family atmosphere that Gary Pratt brought, with Doug Fehan who was the program manager for so many years. And right through to the latest generation of drivers, the likes of Tommy Milner, my long-time teammate, Jordan Taylor, my great friend Antonio [Garcia] and Jan Magnussen. We had lots of great battles and also lots of great times, winning multiple times at Le Mans together.
“That’s probably the biggest highlight of my career: standing on the top step of that podium and winning three times in a row with the GT1 car against the great Prodrive Aston Martins. The fifth win at Le Mans was very special, getting that with Jordan and Tommy in the C7.R.
“Lots of great memories and I want to hang onto those and push that on to the Oliver Gavin Driving Academy, sharing those experiences with customers and get that passion over there.”