Oliver Jarvis is determined to hunt down Porsche this season as Audi looks to exact revenge on its sister brand and challenge for the FIA WEC crown.
The British racer, who will share the #8 Audi with Lucas di Grassi and Loic Duval, believes that the aggressive new R18 LMP1 car, which includes a new battery storage system and an upgrade to the 6MJ energy retrieval sub-class, will be a potent proposition.
“Sportscar racing has never been about just a single lap,” Jarvis told Motorsport.com. “Audi has always been very good in a racing situation, strategy, pit stops, consistency, etc.
"You do have to keep in mind that the 2016 R18 is a brand new developed car. Not a single part was taken over from last year."
Jarvis went on to describe the ergonomics of the new Audi cockpit, which has been moved slightly backwards in the design of the all-new 2016 LMP1 car.
“Going from flywheel to battery technology has changed the amount of room we have in the cockpit now on the left side,” continued Jarvis.
“The battery system is bigger and takes up more room. What it means is that switches and other things have had to be moved and the first time the engineers ask you to do something you instinctively go to the old way.
"Then you adjust but it takes a few times to recall it has changed and you have to react quickly, especially in a competitive situation.
“Small things in the cockpit make a big difference. A big thing for this car has been the seating position as the cockpit position has changed slightly - when you add in two other drivers' requirements, it becomes an important compromise."
Audi has also put a great deal of emphasis on weight saving for the new R18, as the V6 turbodiesel engine is heavier than its rival’s petrol-powered units.
One area where weight has been saved is in the gearbox, where the previous seven-speed system has been reduced to six longer gears.
“You do notice the gearing has changed but that is overcome quite quickly and you adapt,” said Jarvis. “They are slightly longer of course, but you just drive it to feel.
“The weight saving is so important for us to make the diesel engine feasible for a 6MJ system. I think the fact we have gone from flywheel to battery technology makes it more noticeable for the driver.
"The way that the battery can deliver the power I think is a better and more efficient system. We can store more power at any given time and you certainly notice the difference from last year’s car.”
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