Photo: Oliver Jarvis shortly before putting his car on the outside of the front row.
Marc Lieb – Championship leading #2 Porsche Team 919 Hybrid
On the level of intra-team competition: “Well it was clear by the end of this race last year that we had to fall back and help the #1 win the championship. Coming into the race this year those roles are somewhat reversed. But it is important that we both do as well as possible. It is a team sport in the end and we are driving for Porsche to win the manufacturer’s championship.”
Mike Conway - #6 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid
What a difference a year makes (Toyota was a distinct also-ran in 2015): “We knew what we had wasn’t quick enough. We just couldn’t keep up with changes in regulations. We struggled a bit but we knew what we had to do in terms of making a more efficient engine and gaining speed at the same time. We’ll try as hard as we can to keep at least where we are, and if we can overtake anybody, great. But we know it’s going to be hard to keep where we are. The Audi’s very fast this weekend and they’re the ones who are right behind us. It’s going to be tough. And obviously there’s a Porsche behind us as well. Race’s like Mexico, with mixed conditions and being able to double-stint the tires, kind of went in our favor. We’re a little bit off [here] in terms of actual fastest last time, but shouldn’t be too bad over the length of a stint.”
Oliver Jarvis - #8 Audi Sport Team Joest R18
A three-dog fight: “Credit to Toyota that they’re currently second in the championship. I’d say on pure performance it’s still between us and Porsche. But as you can see they keep finishing on the podium, keep getting points, and at Le Mans they did a fantastic job. Certainly here in Austin though, without huge reliability issues for either us or Porsche, I would expect to see one of us on the top step. We’ve stepped up from a 4-megajoule hybrid to a 6-megajoule hybrid, which gives us much more boost power. On this track you need everything. You need a really good high-speed balance for Turns 3-8. But likewise there’re a lot of low-speed corners here and that’s one area where we’ve made the biggest improvement over the course of the season, the low-speed handling of the car.”
“We’d like to think we can still catch the Porsche. It’s quite simple for us. We’ve got to win the last four races and if it’s enough, it’s enough. Anything less and the Porsche is probably a little too far in front. But saying that, with a 6-hour race and traffic and nighttime, they only need contact or an accident and it could change the whole championship overnight. We’re never out of it. Four races, 100 points on the table, we’re not a close as we’d like to be but we’re still fighting for that world championship.”