This season, Olivier Jarvis is representing the Jackie Chan DC Racing team at the wheel of the #38 ORECA 07-Gibson along with Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent. The trio will be in the heat of battle for the LMP2 titles this coming weekend at the season finale of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Bahrain against the driver line-up of the #31 ORECA 07-Gibson driven by Bruno Senna, Julien Canal and Nicolas Prost entered by Vaillante Rebellion. Here is a look back at the former Audi Sport LMP1 team member's 2017!
This past June, you won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 class (read article) after having taken the lead a few hours from the checkered flag. Tell us about your experience after the victory.
"To be honest, it probably really hasn't sunk in yet because for me I went straight from Le Mans, two days at home to see my daughter and then straight to Paul Ricard for the Blancpain (Oliver Jarvis is also an official Bentley driver in GT, Ed.). But just the text messages, the emails received show how, you know, how historic it was what we achieved. To lead the race, and after 21 hours as well was something very special. For me it's a dream come true. I've always wanted to win Le Mans. And sometimes when you have such high expectations, it makes life more difficult. We achieved everything we set out to do and I give full credit to the team. They did an incredible job. I can't thank them enough, and you know now we've got to focus on the rest of the year because just because we won Le Mans it doesn't mean the ambition stops there. We want to go out and hopefully win the World Championship but also, you know, go out and win more races to prove we're deserving victors."
What is your opinion of this team? Is it quite different from what you experienced with Audi back in LMP1?
"[It is] incredibly professional. I mean I keep getting asked, and the bigger compliment I can pay is they remind me very much of Audi Sport. It's quite a small group when you consider what I've been used to, but it's a very close knit group. Some really professional guys as well. I mean I've been so impressed from that side. When I joined the team, the first thing Sam and also David Clark asked was let us know what you think, give us constructive criticism. And I said quite honestly the team runs at such a high level. There's a reason they've won Le Mans numerous times and had the success they have (title in the European Le Mans Series in 2016, Ed.). I can't praise them enough, really."
You've also gained experience in the LMP2 class this year. What are your thoughts?
"To be honest I was amazed at the difference between the LMP2 and the LMP1 car. I think with the technology in the LMP1 it requires a very special driving style. And the LMP2 I have to say, it took me a little while to get used to it, but I'd like to think now you know we've shown that I've adapted very quickly and I love driving it. It's really agile, really pointy, really aggressive and it's a fun car to drive I have to say. I think the LMP1 car with the hybrid system you brake very late, you slow and stop the car, you've got the car turned, it probably wasn't as agile, it was harder to turn the car and then you relied on the hybrid and the power to accelerate. With the P2 car it's much more about rolling and carrying the speed through the corner because you don't have that power on acceleration. So the focus is really to carry as much mid-corner speed as possible and that took a little bit adapting to. It's probably more similar to my Formula 3 days. But when you spend five or six years with a certain car, you learn to drive a certain way, but you know I'd say now I've really got the hang of it and I really enjoy driving the car."
You have two new teammates, including Thomas Laurent. How do you feel about this young driver?
"Tom has done an exceptional job this year. You know especially being a Silver. There's no doubt he's very very fast and I think he's learning every weekend. I still think there's a lot to learn but he takes everything in. The speed is not a question. The next step for him is to really learn and understand the car much more and how to set the car up. I think he's got a very very promising future."
Do you consider your win at Le Mans the peak achievement of your career so far?
"Yes, absolutely. Definitely. It's right up there. That, Sebring, Daytona 24, all big races but Le Mans was the one I've always wanted to take on. Of course I'd love doing it outright but even for me a class win is something very very special and important in my career. [The next goal] is to win the World Championship. Like I say, we talked about how good the team is and they said straight away, right we've ticked that off the list and let's not lose focus. Let's go out and win the World Championship now. I think we come here probably a lot more relaxed. There's a really relaxed atmosphere but that doesn't mean we're not focused or committed. We're 100% focused on finishing the season the right way and hopefully at the end of the year we can finish with the most points as well (they currently trail Vaillante Rebellion and the driver line-up of the #31 by four points, Ed.)."
The finale of the 2017 World Endurance Championship (WEC) season will take place Saturday, November 18th at Bahrain.