Five-time Le Mans champion Oliver Gavin will hang up his helmet following this weekend’s 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps FIA WEC race. The 48-year old Briton looks like he belongs in yellow Corvette overalls, as that’s how the world has seen him for the last twenty seasons of racing since he joined Corvette Racing in 2002.
Gavin delivered early in his career with the Bowtie brand, as he won Le Mans in 2002 teamed with Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell. In addition to accolades at Le Mans, he has also won the 12 Hours of Sebring five times, Petit Le Mans five times, has won five IMSA championships, and throwing it way back to his open wheel days, was a British Formula 3 champion. It’s safe to say that no matter what happens this weekend, he can retire safe in the knowledge that he’ll always be a motorsport legend.
“Today I announce that this weekend’s race - my 204th for Corvette Racing — will be the last of my professional racing career,” said Gavin. “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.
“Most probably the biggest highlight of my career is standing on the top step of that podium [meaning Le Mans], winning three times in a row there with the GT1 car against the great Prodrive. Also the fifth win at Le Mans was very special, getting that win with Tommy [Milner] and Jordan [Taylor] with the C7.R.”
So much of the old guard Corvette squad has retired out of the system, getting replaced in recent years with younger and faster wheel men. Gavin was an amazing talent to watch on track, and I’ll certainly miss his sunny demeanor around the paddock. I’m a little bit surprised he didn’t decide to hang on through August in an effort to get a sixth Le Mans victory, but I guess when it’s time, it’s time.