Excitement is running through the veins of racing driver Oliver Jarvis ahead of his first competitive appearance in the USA.
Throughout Saturday and Sunday, the Burwell race ace will be part of the Audi driver line-up competing in the GT class in this year’s Rolex Daytona 24 Hours in Florida.
Despite having never raced in the USA, the recently-turned 29 year old is hoping this weekend’s event will be the first of many appearances on American race tracks.
“I can’t wait to race in America as it is something I have always wanted to do,” said Jarvis. “I love the culture and the fans out there.
“The Daytona 24-hour race is a fantastic event to open my American race account.
“Hopefully it will lead on to drives in other races in America.”
Earlier this month, the former DTM star received a high octane taste of the raceway’s unique banked circuit during the Roar Before The Rolex 24 with team-mates Filipe Albuquerque, Edoardo Mortara and Dion von Moltke.
“Although there is not a lot to it, Daytona is a really great track,” said Jarvis. “When you are driving two or three cars side by side on the banked curves it gives you such a fantastic feeling, one which is very hard to describe.”
While pleased with results shown in testing by the team’s Audi R8 GRAND-AM, Jarvis, who is to race for the German manufacturer in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours in June, has claimed it is difficult to gauge how much progress was made.
“It is very hard to tell how well you have done as you never know exactly what the other teams are doing as no-one shows their full hand in testing,” he said.
“We were really pleased with how the testing went and we feel we have made some improvements, but we won’t know just how competitive we are until race day.”
Although only von Moltke has previous race form on American shores, Jarvis does not feel the lack of experience he and team-mates Mortara and Albuquerque have on banked circuits will prevent them from mounting a strong challenge.
“There are a lot of things that are different out there but me, Filipe and Edoardo have driven race cars all over the world, and this together with using Dion’s experience should serve us well,” said Jarvis.
“The race is very competitive and there are about 20 GT cars that could win it, while the star-studded driver line-up is probably the most varied you will find on a grid, with the likes of former Formula One stars Juan Pablo-Montoya and Anthony Davidson taking on ex-touring car racers such as Frank Biela.
“If we can walk away with a podium place then that would be a great result for us.”
Jarvis is to get his second taste of race action in the USA in March after being announced as part of the Audi driver line-up for the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida.
The Cambridgeshire driver will race a diesel-hybrid Audi R18 e-tron quattro sports-prototype for the very first time with co-drivers Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer.
“Obviously to get the chance to race the R18 e-tron quattro for the first time is fantastic,” said Jarvis.
“I’m certain racing the diesel-hybrid will be an amazing experience and one I’m eagerly looking forward to.”