Saleen S7R Bypasses Las Vegas Race for Testing

BIRMINGHAM, England, Oct. 27, 2000 – Saleen/Allen Speedlab, five-time ETD Champion in sports car racing, announced today at the Birmingham Auto Show that Oliver Gavin, former Formula One test driver and British Formula 3 Champion, would be joining the team for the 2001 American Le Lemans Series (ALMS). Gavin will compete with 2000 Grand-A111 GTE) Co-Champions Terry Borcheller and Ron Johnson, as well as Tommy Kendall, the winningest sports car driver of all time, in the entire ALMS season. In addition, the Speedlab team will contest the classic endurance races at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Like most young professional racers, Oliver Gavin has driven many different cars in many different series in his career, but few have had Olly’s success!

Early in his career, Gavin received the prestigious McLaren Autosport “Young Driver of the Year” award from the late Ayrton Senna for winning 11 out of 12 races and the National Formula First Championship in 1991.

The following year, Gavin was the runner up in 1992 British Vauxhall Lotus Championship with three wins and two fastest laps for the John Village Automotive Tearn. In 1993, Gavin moved up to the British Formula 3 Championship where he was again runner up with Edenbridge Racing winning five races with two poles and five fastest laps.

After competing in the FIA Formula 3000 and Formula 3 Championships in 1994, Gavin finally broke through in 1995 with a. dominating season in the British Formula 3 Championship. Gavin was the British Formula 3 Champion with six victories, three poles and five fastest laps.

For the next several years, Gavin participated in numerous series, including the 1995 FIA International Touring Car Championship with Opel Team Joest; the Porsche Cup from 1993-1999; and Formula One testing for McLaren and Benetton from 1997 through the 2000 season. He was also the Formula 1 Grand Prix safety car driver for the FIA from 1997 through 1999 and a commentator for Radio Le Mans twice.

This past year, Gavin competed in the inaugural Grand American Road Racing Championship, driving Intersports Racing’s Lola Judd V10 in five races, including a second-place finish in the Grand-Am finale at Watkins Glen. Amazingly, he set the fastest lap in every session of the last two Grand-Am races drawing the attention of Saleen/Allen Speedlab’s principal, Steve Saleen.

“We were really impressed with Oliver’s speed at Trois-Rivieres and the Glen,” commented Saleen. “Our European sources confirmed Olly’s credentials and once we interviewed him we knew we had the perfect complement to our current Speedlab drivers.”

When not driving a new racecar, the 23-year-old Gavin enjoys personal fitness, mountain biking and most sports. He resides in Northamptonshire with his wife, Helen, and daughter, Lily.

Across the pond, the Speedlab opted to bypass the ALMS race at Las Vegas this weekend and, instead, spend the week testing. “We accomplished our goal of benchmarking the S7R last weekend at Laguna Seca,” stated Speedlab Team Director, Daryl Cozens. “Now we need more time to test the various racing components so that we’re well prepared for next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and the entire ALMS season. We’ll be at Las Vegas, but not until the SEMA Show next week (Oct. 31 – Nov. 3) where we will have both the Saleen S7 supercar (Pirelli Booth #3804) and the S7R racecar (ALMS Booth #12660) on display.”

Saleen/Allen Speedlab is sponsored by the Automotive Refinish and CE Coatings & Colorants divisions of BASF, Dura Automotive Systems, Hidden Creek Industries, Pirelli Tire North America, Tim Allen’s Signature Tools and Borla Performance Industries-