Ex-Audi LMP1 driver Oliver Jarvis has been signed by Bentley in a driver shakeup within the British manufacturer for this year.
The 33-year-old Briton will drive alongside Guy Smith and Steven Kane in the No. 7 Bentley Continental GT3, with Vincent Abril moving to the No. 8 car with Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet.
Former Nissan GT Academy driver Wolfgang Reip, who paired with Soucek and Soulet to finish third in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup last year, has been dropped from the factory lineup.
Jarvis is set to focus on the Endurance Cup, but his season will start with next month’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, as part of Bentley Team M-Sport’s two-car factory assault.
“After nine years with Audi, its time for a new start and a new challenge,” said Jarvis. “I had a few offers on the table but this was the right choice and I couldn’t be happier to be joining Bentley as a works driver.
“Having followed closely what they have achieved on-track in GT racing since returning to motorsport, I can’t wait to put the overalls on for the first time and become one of the ‘Bentley Boys’.
“The brand’s heritage in motorsport is certainly not lost on me and the 2003 Le Mans-winning car is still one of my favorite race cars of all-time. After speaking to Brian Gush and hearing about their motorsport ambitions I knew that Bentley would be a great fit for me.
“To be able to start this new and exciting chapter in my life at Bathurst 12 Hour will also be something very special, as it’s a race I’ve been looking forward to tackling for several years.”
While having been a full-time LMP1 driver for the last two seasons, Jarvis had been part of the German manufacturer’s GT3 and DTM programs prior to his promotion to top-level prototype racing.
He scored six LMP1 podium finishes in the Audi R18 including wins at Spa-Francorchamps and Audi’s final LMP1 race at Bahrain last November.
“We’re delighted to welcome Oliver to the Bentley Motorsport team,” said Bentley’s Director of Motorsport Brian Gush. “He is a quick, confident and well-rounded driver who is easy to work with, which means he will fit-in well immediately.
“He has a wealth of experience in various machinery and I think he will bring a lot to the team, now and in the future. We’re looking forward to welcoming him at our season-opener in Australia.”
Since Audi’s departure from the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, Jarvis joins several of his teammates in finding other factory drives elsewhere.