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Gavin buoyed by Sydney Walkinshaw test

Monday 17th February, 2014 - 4:00am

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Gavin drove Percat's entry on Saturday

Gavin drove Percat’s entry on Saturday

Corvette GT star Oliver Gavin is a step closer to achieving his dream of racing in the Bathurst 1000 after testing with Walkinshaw Racing at the weekend.

The 41-year-old Briton cut laps in Nick Percat’s #222 Holden at Sydney Motorsport Park’s pre-season test ahead of an expected endurance drive with the team.

Gavin is no stranger to factory General Motors equipment having been part of the Corvette GT squad for the last nine years.

Currently competing full-time in the United SportsCar Championship, his results with the team include four Le Mans 24 Hour class wins and four American Le Mans Series class titles.

Prior to the weekend, Gavin’s V8 Supercars experiences had come at the 2011 Gold Coast 600, where he drove for Kelly Racing, and last year’s Austin 400, where he was a guest of the HRT.

Although wet weather hampered running at the Sydney test, Gavin said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“It was fantastic, it was great to drive and work with the guys from Walkinshaw Racing, particularly to be sharing the car with Nick,” Gavin told Speedcafe.com.

“It was a mixed day in terms of the weather which made it a difficult thing to get on top of.

“I only got five dry laps in total, but it was great just to spend a day with the team and see how things operate.”

The day had also marked the first of track duty for a number of Walkinshaw staff including managing director Adrian Burgess, technical director Mathew Nilsson and the #222’s race engineer, Alex Somerset.

D'Alberto sampled Tim Slade's Holden

D’Alberto sampled Tim Slade’s Holden

“Adrian being here now and a number of other new people, there has been a very clear message on how they want to do things and how they need to be structured,” added Gavin of the team.

“It was a very interesting and good couple of days to understand how the team works.”

Although a deal with Walkinshaw would see him complete all three Pirtek Enduro Cup races, Gavin is making no secret of which event he has his focus on.

“Racing in the Bathurst 1000 would mean a huge amount; when I was growing up as a lad it was on the BBC,” he said.

“It was one of those races that you wanted to just go and see, forget about being able to drive around it.

“To be able to go back and do the Bathurst 1000 would be pretty special.

“I’ve driven it in a GT3 car (during the Bathurst 12 Hour earlier this month), which has downforce, ABS and traction control, but a Supercar doesn’t have any driver aids so it’s all about the driver.

“I know it’d be pretty lively over the top, so it’d be a huge challenge but something I’d absolutely love to do.”

Also in action for Walkinshaw Racing on Saturday was Tony D’Alberto, who drove Tim Slade’s Holden ahead of another expected co-driving slot.

The former Development Series winner says, however, that no deal will be done until all hopes of keeping his family’s Racing Entitlements Contract in the category are lost.

“The (Walkinshaw) guys gave me a few laps because they’re interested in having me for the enduros, but nothing’s been done yet,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“We’ve still got hopes that we can be there full-time but day-by-day there’s getting less and less chance.

“We’ll see what happens over the next week.”

The D’Albertos are continuing to chase funding to run a second car at Tekno Autosports.

Any late deal would need sign-off from the V8 Supercars Board following the publication of the 25 car entry list earlier this month.

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