Five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner and Corvette Racing great Oliver Gavin has announced that he will retire from professional racing after this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa.
Gavin, 48, announced on Thursday that he will step down from a decorated three-decade driving career to launch his own driving academy business in Europe.
The Englishman’s full-time driving position with Corvette ended after the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season but he was recalled to drive a Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at Spa this weekend, for what will be his final professional race outing.
Gavin is teaming up with Antonio Garcia for the six-hour contest on Saturday.
“Today I announced that this weekend’s race, my 204th with Corvette Racing, will be my 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.
“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 said that he will hold several fond memories from his long racing career, starting with his early single-seater titles in the 1991 British Formula First series and the 1995 British F3 championship.
He went on to become a test driver for the Benetton Formula 1 team, and also started to explore sports car racing in the late 1990s.
Gavin’s long association with Chevrolet’s factory Corvette Racing team started in 2002 and developed into four class titles in the American Le Mans Series, one in IMSA and five wins at Le Mans in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2015.
His resume includes victories at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Motul Petit Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“I’ve been extremely lucky,” said Gavin. “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 acing 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.”