Pierson has spoken to Motor Sport this week about his Le Mans prospects. But what do Jarvis and Lynn make of him? Oliver has a Daytona 24 Hours win under his belt already this year, Lynn a second Sebring 12 Hours success. They are at the top of their game and hungry as hell for what would be a second class win for both at Le Mans (Jarvis was an LMP2 winner in 2017, Lynn a GTE Pro victor with Aston Martin in 2020). They can’t afford to carry a callow teenager – and there’s absolutely no suggestion, from either of them, that they will have to.
“Josh is a great lad,” says Lynn. “You wouldn’t know he’s 16 the way he conducts himself. He’s extremely professional, very receptive to feedback, eager to learn and listen. The perfect team-mate and as a silver-graded driver he’s eager to prove himself. He’s learning at a rapid rate. For this event in particular experience counts for the most and certainly listening to your older and more experienced peers matters. I’ve felt it before at this track where speed is a very small element to winning the race. Certainly he’s really impressive so far and I have no doubt he will adapt because listening and learning are his key traits.”
So have Jarvis and Lynn been hired to coach him? “Alex and I have been brought on board not necessarily to coach him but to guide him,” clarifies Jarvis. “Josh has got a good support network and the experience we bring to the table he can learn from. It allows him to go out and do the job we ask of him. There’s no pressure from myself and Alex. We’re in a position where there are no intra-team fights, it’s a relaxed atmosphere. It would be very easy to put in guys where the dynamic doesn’t work as well, but Richard Dean has done it previously with Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson and he knows how to get the best out of the silver drivers. That’s why myself and Alex were chosen.
“We’ve been saying it’s the strongest LMP2 field ever and that’s certainly true this year”
“Josh has all the ingredients to do a fantastic job. He’s really impressed me this year, and it’s not just his speed. We’ve chucked him into high-pressure situations and it doesn’t seem to faze him. It’s almost as if he’s unaware of the big stage he’s on. He will take it all in his stride, he’s very laid back. The progression we’ve seen in his driving technique since the first test I did with him at the end of last year has been huge. To see that progression he’s already at is amazing. He’s a very nice guy as well, with a nice family.”
Beyond the sister No22 of Hanson, Albuquerque and William Owen, who are they expecting to face if events go their way and United finds itself in the scrap for victory?
“There’s such depth in the competition,” says Jarvis. “I think every year for the past five or six years we’ve been saying it’s the strongest LMP2 field ever and that’s certainly true this year. You’d be hard not to look at the WRT car, the René Rast, Robin Frijns and Sean Galael car, they look good. Jota look good, then there’s Prema which is new to LMP2. Also [Ferrari’s future LMH team] AF Corse, certainly in qualifying, then there’s the question of whether they can carry that over to race pace. If I had to single out one I’d probably say the WRT car, just based on last year and results this year. They will be tough to beat, but certainly not impossible.”
At this stage, is an overall podium on their mind? “Certainly you have to be careful [to be optimistic] because LMH is the top class, but the competition is not the same as it is in LMP2 currently. That will change with LMDh next year. But there are so many top teams and drivers it will be a really tough battle out there. Of course, your first focus is to win the race in LMP2, but there is also huge potential to end up on the outright podium. It relies on reliability issues from the top runners and then you’re there.”
Jarvis and Lynn are busy racing drivers this year, criss-crossing the Atlantic mixing their WEC campaign with United with IMSA programmes in the US – Jarvis with Meyer Shank’s Acuras, Lynn with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Cadillacs. Last weekend they were among a bunch of drivers who raced in a fierce IMSA round at Detroit’s Belle Isle street track, Jarvis finishing second and Lynn third, before flying direct to Le Mans for test-day duties. What a fabulous life they are leading right now, especially as they are also well placed for LMDh rides with their respective IMSA teams for next year.