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Jan 26, 2014 - 06:44 AM
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2014 Daytona Rolex 24: Chevrolet Driver Quotes - Oliver Gavin, Ricky Taylor, Christian Fittipaldi
Posted by: ASkyler on Jan 26, 2014 - 06:38 AM
Grand Am News
2014 Daytona Rolex 24: Chevrolet Driver Quotes - Oliver Gavin, Ricky Taylor, Christian Fittipaldi


OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R

TALK ABOUT YOUR OPENING STINT. IT SEEMED VERY EVENTFUL?

"The first stint was certainly eventful. Right at Turn 1 at the start, there was a lot of jostling for position. I got inside of one of the Vipers and we ran side-by-side coming down Turn 2 and then Turn 3. I was behind Nick Tandy one of the Porsches and was trying to go around the outside before one of the PC cars spun around, and the Porsche and I had to take evasive action and went across the grass - which is a lot more slippery than you think. Both of us did a good job to stay out of the wall and not hit one another. Of course we lost a ton of positions but we were able to pick them back up. Fortunately a caution bunched us up together. At the restart it was a great race between Nick and I, and Gimmi Bruni (in one of the Ferraris) joined us. The story of the first stint was the traffic. It was pretty crazy and lots of unusual lines being driven. Lots of people are going off and not thinking when they come back on. It was an eventful first hour, for sure."

 

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IS THE BALANCE OF THE CAR STILL PRETTY SOLID?

"It wasn't too bad. It dropped away a little bit toward the end of the stint. I could see that lots of people were having trouble with the tires we all qualified on."



RICKY TAYLOR, NO. 10 WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP

HOW DIFFERENT IS THE ROLEX 24 DIFFERENT THIS YEAR?

"It's definitely interesting. There are a lot of cars and good drivers. You can definitely see the transition from when the starting drivers get in to the gentlemen drivers who get in second. It gets a bit hairy. But one of the interesting things that I think will play out toward the end is that you have to ask who is on your strategy. The fuel mileages and fill times are so different. We may be racing someone in one stint, not lose any time and suddenly be racing with a completely different group of cars. That part has been interesting, along with the different infield speeds and straight-line speeds."

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE EMOTIONS OF BEING ON THE GRID, ESPECIALLY BEING WITH YOUR FATHER?

"I got a little choked up about it. I would have liked to have handed off to my dad. That was the plan but the way the race was going, when I got out of the car there was a big glare and he has had trouble with his eyes with his old age! We would like to put him in the nighttime and preferribly under yellow because he's also a little on the shorter side! He has a big insert in his seat and we have to get him snug in there tight. We have to loosen our belts up a lot! So that's why he didn't get in after me. It's definitely a special thing. I think all of us are very nervous not knowing what to expect. He probably won't want to get in the car, and then after the race we will look back on it and be very happy that we made it happen and that we got through it."

IS THIS DEFINITELY IT FOR HIM?

"Somebody else asked me the same question a couple of days ago. I was with Max (Angelelli, co-driver) and I said 'Definitely the last one. He is hating it! He doesn't enjoy driving anymore. He always wants to get out of the car! But every time he is finished driving, he's happy.' Max quickly then corrected me and said, 'You never know with Wayne.' So I can't give you an answer."

AS FAR AS YOU HAVING THE ABILITY TO LEARN FROM YOUR DAD, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE YOUNG WHO WANTS TO LEARN TO RACE?

"Growing up in the family with my dad, it was always interesting. Sometimes it's hard to listen to advice from your dad, as any kid struggles with. It's the last person you want to take advice from, especially when he is telling you how he won the 24 Hours twice already! You have to listen to him though. He is always giving us advice, like go high on the banking. It may seem obvious but it's something that has caught a lot of people out so I keep that in mind. His advice is always taken into consideration and it definitely has sped up my learning process up. On the sentimental side, it was really strange this week to get out of the car and be on the same level as him. We would exchange information on what the car is doing, how the track is changing, what traction control position he would like. It was pretty special but a funny relationship - one I haven't experienced before."

THIS IS THE FIRST RACE YOU'VE RUN AGAINST TURBO-CHARGED PROTOTYPES. WHAT CAN YOU TELL ABOUT THEM SO FAR?

"I got around one of the Ganassi cars and the Shank car. It's hard to tell this early on but they definitely have their advantages and disadvantages to us. That's the interesting part. On the lower end, they have some strength and up top maybe we have a little bit. It's still very on but things are still a little back and forth."

JOAO BARBOSA, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DP

HOW IMPORTANT HAS IT BEEN TO HAVE THE CAR FAST DURING TESTING AND THE RACE?

"It's always important to know you have a fast car. Maybe sometimes you can take things a little easier. There is still a long way to go. Nothing is ever decided in the first hour, five hours or even six hours. We are sticking to our own pace. We had to make an earlier pit stop because we had some debris blocking the radiator. The engine was overheating a little bit so we had to make an unscheduled stop during the first yellow. After that everything went well. The car is fast. The track is very tricky but we are making the most everything. It is working very well so far."

WAYNE TAYLOR, NO. 10 WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP

HOW WAS YOUR STINT?

"I was really just getting into a rhythm. When you haven't driven these cars for so long and it's really, really difficult. I didn't want to make any mistakes. With about four laps to go, the crew told me to disconnect the water and everything and I was overheating at that point."

YOU SAID EARLIER THIS WEEK YOU HAVE A NEW RESPECT FOR YOUR BOYS FOR WHAT THEY DO DRIVING THIS CAR. WHAT DO YOU THINK NOW?

"I think it's amazing what they do - just amazing. It is such hard work out there and they make it look so easy."

MORE THOUGHTS ON YOUR STINT?

"Memo's accident put a damper on things for me. When someone has an accident like that, it puts things in perspective. But my stint was OK. I hadn't driven these cars for four years and it was pretty tough. My job was to keep the cars on the lead lap. I enjoyed myself and I must say that having the opportunity to run with my sons Jordan and Ricky, and Max - who is like my brother - has been an amazing experience. I heard Ricky was in here earlier saying I was short and my eyes are getting old! I'm not sure I'm going to let him back in the car!"

TO CLARIFY, RICKY WAS IN HERE SAYING HE WAS HOPING TO HAND OFF TO YOU BUT PLANS CHANGED BECAUSE OF THE GLARE AND THAT YOUR EYES WERE TOO OLD TO HANDLE IT. IS THAT INCORRECT?

"That is totally incorrect! I guess that's what he thinks. But yes I did want to get him after him but we did have a plan where he would start and if there was a caution in his second stint then I'd get in. But we decided prior to that when the two early cautions came out that we would put Max (Angelelli) in the car and I would get in the car going into the evening. At the Roar testing, the only time I was in the car was at nighttime and when the sun was going down. So that was the safest thing."

BOTH OF YOUR BOYS HAVE MADE IT SOUND LIKE YOU WERE RELUCTANT TO DO THIS, YOU'RE MISERABLE IN THE CAR AND YOU DON'T ENJOY DRIVING ANYMORE! BUT ONCE THIS WAS OVER, THEY THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE GRATEFUL AND THANKFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY AND THE EXPERIENCE. ARE THEY ACCURATE WHEN SAYING HOW MISERABLE YOU ARE IN THE CAR AND ARE YOU GRATEFUL THIS HAS HAPPENED?

"I'm totally grateful this has happened. When I was driving professionally all those years, I couldn't imagine life without driving a race car. But when I stopped, it was like a light switch. I had absolutely no interest, no passion, no desire to ever get back in a race car. I really didn't. I think it is the greatest thing because you can keep trying to hang on and hang on and keep trying to do it. I had no interest to do it. But obviously having the opportunity to do the 24 Hours and having both of them and Max with me, I had no other option than to do it. I enjoyed the build up to it. When I woke up this morning, it was hell. I remember thinking that all I had to do was make a mistake and the whole program would be over. But I'm very grateful that they allowed me to do this."

SOME PROTOTYPE DRIVERS HAVE COMPLAINED ABOUT OVERTAKING SOME OF THE SLOWER GT CARS. WAS THIS A PROBLEM FOR YOU?

"I've always believed in a 110 percent rule. I always believed that every driver should have to qualify. I don't think the car qualifying is necessarily OK when you have paying drivers who quite honestly aren't good enough to be on the track. The easiest thing for them to do is to stay on line and we will find a way around them. The problem with some of the guys here is that they change their mind and look like they are running in the middle of the track. I guess they feel safer because there is tarmac on the right and left. And then the faster drivers don't know which way to go."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS CORVETTE DP

HOW WERE THINGS IN YOUR STINT?

"I couldn’t tell what had happened to Memo (Gidley). At that point, conditions were really hard. The sun was setting. There were two points on the track where you couldn’t see anything. One was at start-finish and the other point was coming out of Turn 3 and coming out of the Kink. I imagined there was a slow car ahead of him and he couldn’t see. Defintely I feel very sorry for him and his team. I hope he is well."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT TRAFFIC, AND THE VARIETY OF SPEEDS AND TALENT?

"It’s wild out there. Of all the eight races I’ve done here, this is definitely the worst. Because there are so many competitive cars, sometimes you get a bunch of GTs fighting and are bascially nose-to-tail. It’s hard for you to pass them. They want to help you but they are in their own race and own battle. Sometimes you come up on six to eight cars but you have to be patient. This is by far the hardest race here that I’ve done. The only thing you can do is keep your nose as clean as possible and make sure the car in one piece. When it boils down to the last three or four hours of the race, that’s when you start cranking on it and see what we have out there."

YOU HAD SOME BACK AND FORTH WITH THE GANASSI CARS AND WAYNE TAYLOR CARS. HOW WOULD YOU RATE THOSE BATTLES?

"The only thing I needed was a little better power down from the middle of the stint onward. I was very strong in the first half of the stint. Then the second half, my car started losing a little bit. . There is one small adjustment that we will try to do to give us a little better power down from the middle of the stint. Apart from that, everything is smooth and almost perfect. Obviously I was pushing but there was still a little bit left. If there was 15 laps or so to go, I think you would have seen a slightly different pace."

WHAT WAS THE GLARE LIKE IN YOUR STINT?

"It was bad. I was looking at my watch because I knew I was going to start driving at the same time I qualified on Thursday. It was very annoying. I had my helmet with two visors and was trying to calculate if I should start with the dark visor or clear visor. Thank God I went with the clear visor because I ended up going two-and-a-half hours and I really needed that for the second part of the stint. But it was very bad for the first part of the stint or for the first 20 minutes until we got parked for a long time. I am 200 percent Memo (Gidley) had the same problem."

DO YOU HAVE SPOTTERS THERE?

"We do but things happen very quick. You have spotters and they help you. But obviously the story would be a lot different if we didn’t have them helping. These cars accelerate pretty quick. It’s like when you are on a superspeedway with the Cup cars. Sometimes you’re just in the middle of the pack and one car moves. Another gets touched and then the whole thing collapses. Over here, the same thing happens but in a slightly different way. We have to remember that we have the quickest cars but the GT cars are still running a race. It’s not like they are going to run slow to let us by all the time. So sometimes it gets pretty wild."

OFTEN TIMES THERE ARE YELLOWS FOR FOG. WOULD GOING TO YELLOW FOR THE SUN BE SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE LOOKED AT?

"You have a point. Obviously have fog all the way around the track. The sun is basically bad in two parts - start-finish and Turn 3. But I agree. Maybe it’s something we ought to consider for a period of 20 minutes or a half-hour when it gets really critical. Everyone has to take it easy and take it from there."

MARK KENT, DIRECTOR OF CHEVROLET RACING

"Both Chevrolet Corvette C7.R race cars are running well. The No. 3 has slowly worked its way to the front of the GT class after starting deep in the field, while the No. 4 is fighting its way back into contention after losing track position for an extended stay on pit road. All-in-all, to this point, we are pleased with the debut of the Corvette C7.R."

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