Oliver Jarvis is determined to take his golden opportunity as he aims to make a name for himself in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Newmarket-based driver is facing a daunting opening weekend at his home circuit of Silverstone as he aims to fill the void of recently retired endurance racing legend and nine-times Le Mans 24-hour winner Tom Kristensen after being handed his seat by the Audi factory team for the new campaign.
However, the 31-year-old, who has scored two third place finishes at Le Mans after making his debut in the twice-around-the-clock marathon in 2012 but has not previously contested a full WEC season, is relishing his opportunity alongside co-drivers Loïc Duval and Lucas di Grassi.
“For me it’s always great to race at Silverstone,” he said ahead of the season opener.
“Over the last few years it has been very few and far between. Last time was in 2013 in the Blank Pan Endurance Series so to be back there and part of the Audi full LMP1 Squad is a dream come true.
“It has been a long time coming and a lot of hard work, but now I can’t wait to get my gloves and crash helmet on and get in the car.
“Home race for my first race of the year and a lot of people have already commented I have big shoes to fill in Tom Christianson, but it is an exciting opportunity and like I say, I can’t wait to get started.”
And it is not just Jarvis who has a point to prove as the German manufacturers aim to improve on a disappointing end to last year with a revised Audi R18 e-tron quattro, which includes better aerodynamics and developments to the chassis.
“Coming off the back of the Prologue (official testing) I think we have to be very pleased with the progress we have made over the winter,” added Jarvis.
“The guys and girls at Audi Sport have worked extremely hard over the winter to make the step forward that we believe is required to compete this year.
“It is no secret that at the end of last year we struggled slightly compared to our competitors, but this year we are going out to win Le Mans again and also recapture the world championship. I think they have given us the best possible chance of doing so.”
n Elsewhere Newmarket-based racer Michael Caine endured a difficult opening round of the Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup on Brands Hatch’s Indy circuit.
Racing in the highly fancied Amigos Tequila Beer Ginetta G55, Caine could not live up to early expectations as persistent set up issues saw the 45-year-old only muster two sixth-place finishes and one seventh during the weekend.