Audi Sport Team Joest driver Oliver Jarvis believes that tyre performance and managing the traffic efficiently will be crucial and race defining factors at Le Mans this weekend.
The British racer, who shares the #8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro with team-mates Lucas Di Grassi and Loic Duval, told Motorsport.com that maximising performance of the Michelin tyres in their operating temperature windows could be the difference between winning and losing the endurance classic.
“Tyre performance, as we all know, will play a key role. We have tyre durability – how many stints can we do,” he said.
“If you looked purely at Silverstone and Spa you could assume that Audi will run longer on the tyres but what we did see on the test day is that Porsche looked very competitive through some sections of the track, which suggest they have added some extra downforce to their car, particularly compared to last year, so it will be tight between us I’m sure.
“Making sure the tyres perform within their best working window; if that doesn’t happen then the degradation will be much higher as the car will slide and move around more.
“So it is fundamental to pick the right tyre for the right temperature. It can be a very small window and I think this will be a very significant factor this year.”
Test day useful for drivers
Jarvis dispelled the notion that the teams learnt little from the test day.
“The test day was actually more useful for the drivers than it was for the engineers because we could evaluate the differing track conditions, meaning it gave us some preparation for what looks like more unsettled conditions this week and on in to the weekend,” he said.
Reliability more important than ever
Jarvis, who suffered some reliability issues in the Audi at Silverstone, is aiming to get the #8 entry’s season back on track this weekend where double WEC points are on offer.
“Reliability is also absolute key this year, as it was in 2014,” continued Jarvis.
“Last year we saw the winning Audi spend 20 minutes in the pits and still win. This year with, let’s say, eight cars capable of winning the race I think it can be assumed that two will get to the end of the race without any issues.
“So then you have to maximise absolutely everything in your armoury to make sure you exploit that reliability better than whoever you are ultimately racing against.”