Franchitti gets Mazda prototype seat for Sebring 12h

Marino Franchitti has been added to the Mazda Prototype team for next month's Sebring 12 Hours.

Franchitti gets Mazda prototype seat for Sebring 12h
#70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Joel Miller, Tom Long, James Hinchcliffe
Marino Franchitti, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK
#55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez, Spencer Pigot
#67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Marino Franchitti, Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell
#70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Joel Miller, Tom Long, James Hinchcliffe
Marino Franchitti, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing
#70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Joel Miller, Tom Long, James Hinchcliffe

The Scotsman, who won the Florida-based endurance classic in 2014 in a Chip Ganassi-run Riley-Ford, joins Tom Long and Joel Miller in the #70 SpeedSource-run Mazda RT24-P.

Franchitti effectively replaces James Hinchcliffe in the #70 line-up, the Canadian IndyCar star having appeared alongside full-time drivers Long and Miller in last month's Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The sister #55 car maintains an unchanged line-up of Tristan Nunez, Jonathan Bomarito and Spencer Pigot for Sebring.

“It’s so cool to be coming back into the Mazda family,” said Franchitti, who returns to racing for the first time since being dropped from Ford's WEC GTE line-up midway through 2016.

“Like everyone else, I was blown away when I saw the first shots of the RT24-P and how incredible it looks, so there’s a lot of excitement at getting to drive it.

"I’m relieved I get a chance to test the car, as many times I’ve just jumped in and raced, so this is a bit of a luxury!

"Being a part of the development process of a car is something I’ve been lucky enough to do several times and it’s something I really love.”

Franchitti last raced for the SpeedSource team in the Rolex 24 in 2012, when he drove a GT class Mazda RX-8, and prior to that he also raced a Mazda-engined Lola LMP2 at Sebring in 2012.

Mazda Motorsports director John Doonan said of Franchitti: “He’s a proven winner there, and he’s been a part of the Mazda family for years. Just look at his record at Sebring!

"He has the experience that can really help our team. Because he’s driven with Mazda before, we know his personality is a great fit.

"That’s important to us, and it goes a long way in helping the team chemistry remain strong."

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