Rolex 24 at Daytona pole-sitter Oliver Jarvis felt that he would have broken the DPi lap record had conditions been better for qualifying on Thursday afternoon.
The Englishman posted a time of 1:33.711 behind the wheel of the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P he shares with Tristan Nunez and Olivier Pla to take pole for this year’s race but fell 0.026 seconds short of breaking his own record from 2019.
Intermittent light rainfall throughout qualifying day and slightly lower track temperatures compared last year contributed to Jarvis not lowering the bar this time around.
“It’s either the conditions or I had a really good Christmas!” Jarvis told Sportscar365.
“I expected the time to be much quicker before arriving here, but I think the rain this morning played a big part.
“The track was very green with a lack of grip, so to get as close as we did shows the step that Michelin has made with the tire.
“It’s definitely a quicker tire than last year and had it been dryer all day I think you would have seen us run faster. I don’t know if there’s a two [1m 32s] in there, but certainly a low three.”
Jarvis said that Mazda Team Joest wants to consider itself as the DPi “benchmark” and dismissed the potential for suggestions that the team could hide its performance for BoP gains.
During the pre-event Roar Before the Rolex 24 test, Jarvis’ co-driver Pla established a new unofficial outright lap record of 1:33.324 for the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway roval course.
So far this week, the No. 77 Mazda has finished second in each of the two practice sessions they took part in on Thursday.
“We’ve got a philosophy within the team that we’re going to go out and do the best we can every time we get in the race car,” explained Jarvis.
“We’re racing in a BoP formula. It’s a necessary evil in many respects. It makes for great racing but at the same time, it allows teams to manipulate the system.
“We want to go out there and consider ourselves as the benchmark.
“We will go out and push every lap. We’re going to do that for the whole season. Let’s wait and see what comes of that.
“When you look at us you know we’re doing everything and we’re going to do our best every lap of the race.”
2020 Mazda Pole Feels Different
Jarvis suggested that the team’s upswing in results during the 2019 season, which included the team taking its maiden DPi victory, made this year’s Daytona pole feel different to last year’s.
“To again put it on pole is an amazing feeling,” he said.
“It feels different this year because last year there was a huge amount of expectation and emotion after a difficult 2018. Given the wins last year it has changed the outlook of the team.
“This feels a bit more business-like. Not to say that the emotion isn’t there, but we appreciate that pole for the 24 is just a small start of what we want to achieve this weekend.
“The goal now is to prep the car as best we can for the race and really focus on that.”