Le Mans Royalty: Inside Oliver Gavin's Remarkable Career and the Launch of his Driving Academy

After a Corvette crusade, the ‘lad from north Bedfordshire’ has tackled his final track... Or has he? He tells us of his F1 woes, an inspired shift to the US and whether Le Mans might tempt him back


Richard Davies

Portraits Richard Davies Taken from Motor sport May 2022

Over more than 120 years of motor racing, many drivers have served long, rewarding careers. Few, though, have spent 19 consecutive seasons with the same front-running team. As Oliver Gavin approaches his 50th birthday, however, it is time for a fresh chapter. He hasn’t ruled out competing again in the future, but his days as a full-time racer are over as he focuses on a new initiative, the Oliver Gavin Driving Academy. Unsurprisingly, given the strength of the relationship he has built
up, he’ll be working with Corvette. His accomplishments with the manufacturer include five class wins at Le Mans, five in the Sebring 12 Hours (plus another with Saleen), success in the Daytona 24 Hours, 51 race victories and a clutch of championship titles.

To discuss his career and why he felt the time to stop had come, we meet at The Woodbine, an unspoilt pub in Waltham Abbey, Essex. The clientele seem curious – puzzled, even – that a fellow diner is having his portrait taken, but remain none the wiser. Despite his achievements Gavin is a long way from being a household name, even though he is one of the most decorated racers of modern times.