WEC: Jarvis ready for close battle at Spa and Le Mans

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Audi’s Oliver Jarvis is anticipating a close fight with Toyota and Porsche at the 6 Hours of Spa and the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship prepares for two of its biggest annual events.

Jarvis is embarking on his first full year in the WEC in 2015 after being promoted from the third Audi car – used for just two races per season – into Tom Kristensen’s full-time seat after the Dane’s retirement.

After finishing fifth in the 6 Hours of Silverstone in the no. 8 Audi, Jarvis has been testing at Paul Ricard in France to prepare for the two upcoming races at Spa and Le Mans.

“It was a useful few days running and we evaluated lots of aero data and also endurance tested many parts,” Jarvis told the series’ website.

“It is going to be an incredibly tight battle for both the WEC title and Le Mans this year, and as always Audi Sport Team Joest is leaving no stone unturned.”

“Spa is a track that is often compared to Le Mans in some aspects but, actually, it is completely unique. The 2015 LMP1 cars are going to be fantastic around Spa next weekend.

“I actually believe that sportscar racing in the WEC is now better than it has ever been, probably even going back to golden days of Group C.

“The level is incredibly high and it is an absolute pleasure to be racing with Audi against some very tough and experienced competitors.”

Jarvis admitted that he was disappointed to not compete with the race-winning no. 7 Audi at Silverstone after a long pit stop, but felt that the pace displayed in the second half of the race proves that both of the German marque’s cars can fight for the win at Spa and Le Mans.

“It was still a very good opportunity for me and the team to learn more about the package,” he said. “I actually completed the fastest average stint of the whole race and we learnt a great deal about the potential of the car.

“We all came away disappointed not to be able to challenge the no. 7 car, but at the same time it was great to show we can match their pace.”

The 6 Hours of Spa takes place on May 2, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans being held at the Circuit de la Sarthe on June 13-14.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.