There were two things No. 8 Audi R18 driver Oliver Jarvis wasn’t quite fond of in Mexico: the tequila, and the contact-prone nature of the Extreme Speed Motorsports LMP2 cars. We picked the brains of Jarvis and racing legend Allan McNish on who to watch during the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas, and here’s what they had to say.
Obviously, both McNish and Jarvis had nothing but good to say about the Audi team, and they’re two of only six of the fastest manufacturer LMP1 cars. “Elbows out” is how McNish described the racing there. The four Porsches and Audis have been strong lately, but Toyota always has the potential to upset the Volkswagen Group’s status quo.
In LMP2, McNish is a fan of René Rast in the No. 26 G-Drive car. McNish may be showing a little bias towards other members of Audi’s racing program here, but Rast usually puts on a good drive.
In the LM GTE Pro class, of course McNish mentioned the Ferrari vs. Ford vs. Aston Martin battle. Aston Martin has shined where the 24 Hours of Le Mans’ fastest marques have not, making for a close championship battle heading into the last few races of the season.
But who should we watch for, ahem, less than stellar driving? When I asked who he gave a wider berth on track, Jarvis was understandably polite about this question, speaking in more general terms.
Jarvis said he learned quickly that while the professional drivers out there are usually pretty clear about what they’re doing on track, the amateurs are less predictable. Some amateurs, too, are better than others.
With crazy fast closing speeds, it’s hard for less experienced drivers in the WEC’s GT classes to even see the ultra-fast LMP1 cars like the R18 coming down the track sometimes.
“The GTs almost have it harder than we do,” Jarvis said.
But that’s multi-class racing. It’s part of the challenge.
“For me, in an LMP1 car, it’s what makes it fascinating,” said Jarvis of navigating around cars travelling at much different speeds than his.
Then McNish butted in with, “C’mon. Out with it,” egging Jarvis into a more specific answer as to which car in particular makes him a bit more nervous than the others.
That’s when Jarvis mentioned that the bright green Extreme Speed Motorsports LMP2s in particular get treated with a little more care than the others. COTA is ESM’s home race as an American-based team, though, so hopefully that means they’ll get into fewer incidents here, however, in Mexico, they made a lot of contact with other cars.
The Audi has already shown itself to be extremely strong in the Texas heat, locking out the front of the grid in qualifying.
We’ll see over the next few hours if McNish and Jarvis are right about who’s our entertainment for the evening.