A “change in philosophy” at Bentley Motorsport sees Oliver Jarvis return to the British manufacturer’s Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli program after a two-year absence.
The Brit has been named on the door of the No. 8 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental GT3 as a full season IGTC driver, sharing the car with Alex Buncombe and Seb Morris.
It marks Jarvis’ return to Bentley for the first time since 2017 after receiving the call up to join Mazda in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the past two years, which he will continue with.
Jarvis explained that a recent change in that philosophy now allows him to compete with both manufacturers.
It comes amid a restructuring of the company last year with Paul Williams taking over as its motorsports director following Brian Gush’s retirement.
“I raced for Bentley in 2017, at the end of 2017 I got the opportunity to join Mazda’s DPi program and at the time the philosophy at Bentley was that the drivers weren’t to do stuff with other manufacturers, so it meant I couldn’t compete for both manufacturers,” Jarvis told Sportscar365.
“There’s since been a change of philosophy which for me is absolutely fantastic because it means I’ve now got the opportunity to work for two brilliant manufacturers who I love racing with.
“Here in the States with Mazda and to be able to return to Bentley, a British brand, with the new car as well is something that I really regretted was the fact I left before the new car came in.
“Going to Bathurst will be the first time I get to the drive it, but really excited to get back in now the new Bentley.”
Jarvis said discussions to rejoin Bentley alongside his Mazda commitments were “simple” in the lead up to this year.
“We were in contact with the Wilson family, who I knew from my time before there, they got in contact and then I met the new boss Paul Williams; really liked him immediately,” he said.
“I’ve got a really good feeling about it; like I said it was really simple. Their philosophy changed which made it much easier from my side and I’m really pleased we can make it work and to be back there.”
KCMG Bathurst Drive a Positive
While he had a two-year absence from Bentley, the former Audi LMP1 driver found himself in a KCMG Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 for the IGTC season last year, including at Bathurst, after missing the 2018 race.
Jarvis stressed the experience to drive at Bathurst last year is “a big positive” leading into his return to Bentley in what will be his first time in the new generation Continental GT3.
“I have to say I was surprised by how quickly I got on top of it with KCMG last year having had a year away,” he said.
“I didn’t enjoy my year away [in 2018] because it’s genuinely one of my favorite races; it will be a new car for me so I’m hoping that Bathurst experience will be pivotal.”
Bentley is still without a win at Mount Panorama, something the 36-year old is hoping to change: “I’d love to give them their first win at Bathurst and so would every other driver.”