Oliver Jarvis is taking a must-win approach in the final two races of the FIA World Endurance Championship season, in order to have any chance of claiming the Drivers’ World Championship in the final year of Audi’s LMP1 participation.
The No. 8 Audi R18 trio of Jarvis, Loic Duval and Lucas Di Grassi trail championship leaders Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani by 28.5 points heading into Sunday’s penultimate round of the season in Shanghai.
With a maximum of 52 points remaining up for grabs, the title is stacked in Porsche’s favor and could even be locked up this weekend if the No. 2 Porsche wins, or a number of different scenarios.
“It’s very difficult but mathematically it’s still possible,” Jarvis said. “As long as that’s the case, we won’t give up.
“You have to say, barring any major issues for the No. 2, as long as they’re sensible and stay out of trouble, they can afford to finish third and fourth and still wrap up the title.
“For us, we simply have to go out there and win the last two races, not just for the championship but also to end the 18 years of Audi in sports car racing on a high.
“I think for us it’s simple, we give it everything we’ve got. We’ve got nothing to lose.”
There’s extra incentive from the Audi camp to end the season on a high, following last month’s bombshell news that the German manufacturer will be ending its factory program.
For Jarvis, who has spent the last nine years at Audi, including the past two seasons full-time in the WEC, it marks the end of an era.
“I think they’ve had an incredible impact on sports car racing and the whole motorsport community,” he said.
“They’ve been in the WEC since the start and their record at Le Mans is well known. But I think being such a part of the WEC from the very start is a somewhat forgotten period because of their record at Le Mans.
“It’s difficult to put into words how we feel. We’re all aware and we’re all discussing it. But we’ve still got a job to do.
“There’s two races to go and hopefully two victories. We have to take the fight to the No. 2 Porsche.”
The 32-year-old Englishman, who has Audi’s only 2016 victory on the table, admits that his future is unclear, with his contract with the German manufacturer up at the end of the season.
“The biggest issue is with the cut of the LMP program and reduction from eight to six DTM cars, there simply isn’t many opportunities at Audi for the future,” Jarvis said. “So at the moment, I’m looking at every possibility.
“Of course, I know the WEC and have been here for several years now and have been part of Le Mans. So that’s an option.
“I’d also love to race in America; it’s been a goal of mine for many years. There’s Japan as well, where I have experience. I’m looking at absolutely everything.
“I think one of the biggest issues is how late in the year this news has come. I think certainly in Japan and America, a lot of the drives are taken already.
“It’s a case of speaking to as many teams as possible and weighing my options. The important thing for me is to be in a good car and a chance of winning races next year.”
In the meantime, Jarvis said he will be soaking up the final moments the team has left, heading into what will arguably be an emotional finale in Bahrain later this month.
“It’s going to be hugely tough,” he said. “You dedicate your life to this sport, whether you’re an engineer, a mechanic, a team boss, even the media personnel. We spend a lot of time together.
“We’ve always said it’s a big family and I know people think it’s just media talk but I think you’ll see in Bahrain it’s really not… It’s going to be very emotional.
“There will not be a dry eye in the pit garage come the end of the six hours, regardless win, lose, crash, whatever. It’s going to be an emotional race.”