For weeks the names of Oliver Gavin and Mika Salo have been linked to a seat at Mad Croc Racing in the new FIA GT1 World Championship. And now both names can indeed be added to the team’s lineup, albeit not together in the same car.
The former Formula 1 driver and the works Corvette driver will both race in the Mad Croc Racing Corvette C6.R, sharing it with another Finn, Pertti Kuismanen. Kuismanen raced an SRT and PSI Experience Corvette C5-R in a few FIA GT Championship races in 2006 and 2007 as well as a Chrysler Viper GTS-R back in 2003.
For 2010 Kuismanen will be racing in all ten race weekends, taking part in all twenty races on the FIA GT1 World Championship calendar. Oliver Gavin, from Northamptonshire, England, will join Kuismanen in the Mad Croc Racing Corvette C6.R on eight of the ten races, according to Kuismanen. Gavin would miss the opening round of the season at Yas Marina as that race clashes with the Long Beach Grand Prix in which Gavin will race for Corvette Racing. Gavin is also set to miss the Nürburgring event, as the American Le Mans Series will be racing at Mosport that weekend.
Competing in eight out of ten races would indicate that the British driver will race at the Brno round of the GT1 World Championship, even though the American Le Mans Series is will have its six hour race at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that same weekend. Clarification will most likely follow shortly.
As a result Mika Salo and Pertti Kuismanen will form a 100% Finnish entry for the season opener. “I wanted the best possible drivers and I am pleased that Mika is involved. He is an experienced and great driver”, said Kuismanen to the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation YLE.
“ The GT1 Championship is a very strong championship and I know that the Corvette C6.R is a really competitive car. My calendar was empty and it was such an interesting opportunity that I will really look forward to it”, said Mika Salo to YLE.
UPDATE – 17/02/2010 5:28 PM CET
Gavin will also miss the Brno round as expected and will therefore compete in seven rounds of the 2010 season.
Oliver Gavin: “I’m really pleased to be back with Patrick and his team again for the seven events, after having had such a good connection with him last year. It’s also wonderful to be back competing in Europe and I’m particularly pleased the first race of the year will be at my home track, Silverstone, as I haven’t raced there since 2007.
“I’m looking forward and am intrigued to see how the GT1 World Championship will evolve,” continued Oliver, “and it’ll be good to be racing against the likes of top line drivers such as Darren [Turner] and Tomas [Enge] – reprising our ALMS battles from a few years ago. I’ve never been to South Africa or Argentina before so it’ll not only be challenging to learn some new tracks again, but it’ll also be a really good way to finish off my racing year.”