Mazda enters 2019 with momentum

January 22, 2019

Mazda enters 2019 with momentum

January 22, 2019

Mazda enters 2019 with a wave of optimism and hope.

The Mazda Team Joest program ended 2018 with a double podium finish at Motul Petit Le Mans. 

It began 2019 with an unofficial lap record at the ROAR Before the Rolex 24 test. Officially, new records are set during the Rolex 24 at Daytona race weekend.

Jarvis and Tristan Nunez. Photo: Michelin North America

However, Oliver Jarvis lowered the 26-year mark by nearly half a second during the test. The Englishman lapped the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway at 1:33.398, with ideal ambient and track conditions.

Afterwards, Jarvis was quick to thank Michelin when speaking to reporters.

“It felt incredible. Big thanks to Mazda Team Joest, Multimatic, and AER. And I have to say Michelin have done a fantastic job,” Jarvis said.

“We’ve come here with a tire that’s definitely outperforming last year. You can see that in the lap times. Probably a couple seconds. 

The sister No. 55 Mazda on edge in testing. Photo: Michelin North America

“The car was an absolute joy to drive. We drove it in full quali spec, and not sure all our competitors can say the same. In that low fuel configuration, it felt incredible. You could really push the car to the limits. That’s what drivers live for, getting everything out of the car.”

He’ll work to do more of that and then some in his second season with the team. Jarvis co-drives with Tristan Nunez in the No. 77 Soul Red Crystal Mazda RT24-P. Additional support comes from Timo Bernhard and Rene Rast, who join for Daytona as extra drivers.

Bomarito, Tincknell and Pla are in the No. 55 Mazda. Photo: Michelin North America

In Mazda’s flagship No. 55 car, it’ll again be Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell. Contact with another prototype at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca cost Tincknell a potential victory last year, but clearly they’re close to breaking through. Tincknell has balanced his IMSA commitments with those in the FIA World Endurance Championship, where he drives a Ford GT. His Ford FIA WEC teammate, Olivier Pla, joins for the Michelin Endurance Cup. 

Brad Kettler. Photo: Michelin North America

Mazda Motorsports Director John Doonan has an undying passion and love for the sport. He hopes the latest changes made by the team over the winter will propel them consistently up the grid.

Jan Lange was named new CEO of Mazda Team Joest. Chris Mower is the new Team Coordinator. Additional expertise comes from Audi veterans Brad Kettler (right) and Leena Gade, who are part of Mazda’s operations and technical team in 2019. Another new add is Dave Wilcock, a Ford veteran who like Gade will engineer a Mazda this season.

“It is great to see all these people come together with one common goal,” Doonan said.

He also praised IMSA’s technical team for working towards a level playing field among all the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) manufacturers. 

“Relative to BoP, I commend IMSA for what they’ve done in the ability to make this a level playing field,” he added.

“The racing in this series is bar none the best sports car people in the world. The short answer is, I’m not worried (about BoP). I trust the system.”

Mazda’s John Doonan. Photo: Michelin North America

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