Corvette Racing’s Hot Combo
Corvette Racing’s Hot Combo
Few relationships in international sports car racing are more important than that of the co-drivers paired in each American Le Mans Series car.
Driving styles, technical insights, personalities, experience and a bit of chemistry all come into play as the drivers rotate shifts behind the wheel of a single car in races from two to 24 hours.
So when Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan told then three-time ALMS champion Oliver Gavin of his plan to pair Gavin with the then winless young American Tommy Milner aboard the #4 Corvette Racing C6.R for the 2012 ALMS season, Gavin was not sure what to expect.
“You never know,” said Gavin when asked if he foresaw the success that quickly followed. “You hope it is going to happen, but there are so many things that go into it, you just never know how it is going to work out.”
The record is clear that this combination is definitely working out.
In the hottest class on the international sports car scene today, the hottest GT driver combination – Gavin and Milner – claimed the 2012 ALMS championships, have taken the GT wins at six of their first 15 ALMS races and are currently the only co-drivers to post two wins in 2013 ALMS GT competition.
“Last year we won at Long Beach and Monterey. We got some momentum and then we won again at Mid-Ohio and wrapped everything up with a win at VIR,” said Gavin. That momentum continues.
It is a given in racing that every driver worth his pay would rather be in the car than watch the closing stages of a tight race. “Standing in the pits at the end of the race, I feel like an expectant father waiting for a newborn,” said Gavin.
Although they typically alternate qualifying and race starts, it has worked out that it was Milner in the car at the end of both of the team’s victories this season.
Hopping aboard their Corvette for the final stints at the Twelve Hours of Sebring after Gavin had relentlessly narrowed the gap to the class leading Ferrari, Milner was the hunter, closing down and eventually passing the leader in the closing minutes for the victory.
So how has the pairing with Gavin helped turn Milner into a podium regular?
“Oliver has so much experience with the team and he just gives you a lot of support and confidence,” said Milner. “He has helped me learn to drive what the car gives you.”
“In Canada, we qualified sixth and we weren’t happy with the car in practice or qualifying,” continued Milner. “Oliver and I got together with our engineer, Chuck Houghton, to figure out what the car needs and made changes.”
Gavin opened the Canadian race and immediately gained two spots and another midway through the stint as he moved the Corvette into contention.
After the first round of pit stops, they became the hunted, as Milner fended off a withering attack by Dominik Farnbacher in the SRT Viper to claim the victory.
“Oliver did a great job to set us up to take the lead,” said Milner.
“Tommy drove brilliantly under massive pressure to get the job done,” said Gavin.
And that sounds just like a pair of co-drivers that will be tough to beat.