Joest joins forces with Mazda for 2018 IMSA assault

The Mazda RT24-P Prototypes will compete in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship under the Mazda Team Joest banner, as the legendary endurance team replaces SpeedSource.

Joest joins forces with Mazda for 2018 IMSA assault
#70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Joel Miller, Tom Long
#70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Joel Miller, Tom Long
#55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez
#70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Joel Miller, Tom Long
#55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez
#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi: Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, #55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez
#55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez
#70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Joel Miller, Tom Long
#70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Joel Miller, Tom Long
#70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi: Joel Miller, Tom Long

The two Mazdas have accrued three podium finishes this year, and the driver pairings of Jonathan Bomarito/Tristan Nunez and Joel Miller/Tom Long lie sixth and seventh in the current championship, but have been way off the pace of the dominant Cadillac and Nissan DPi cars. As a result, Mazda are withdrawing from the three remaining races on the IMSA calendar, to allow the new team maximum time to prepare for its first race together, the 2018 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

“Since Mazda first took to the race track in 1964, our ‘Never Stop Challenging’ spirit means that every time we race, we strive for victories and championships,” said Masahiro Moro, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) and managing executive officer, Mazda Motor Corporation (MMC). “The creation of Mazda Team Joest provides us a unique opportunity to partner with a team with proven success in the prototype ranks, and gives us the best chance to return Mazda to the top step of the podium.

“I welcome the Joest family to the Mazda family, and I’m convinced that, together, we will write many more pages in the book of Mazda racing successes.”

Ralf Juttner, managing director of Joest Racing which has 16 Le Mans 24hr wins and 10 Sebring 12hr wins to its credit, stated: “We are excited and proud about this new opportunity with Mazda. Mazda has such a long tradition in motorsport and, especially in America, has created a huge platform for racing enthusiasts.

“For us, this is not only a return to American racing, which we have always enjoyed, but also great news to the big group of our Japanese fans, who have always warmly embraced us.”

John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American Operations, commented: “This is an important moment in Mazda Motorsports history as we align our brand’s top-level sports car racing program with one of the best sports car teams of all time,” said Doonan. “What Mr. [team founder Reinhold] Joest, Ralf Jüttner and the entire Joest Racing organization have accomplished is not likely to ever be matched. We are very excited to work with them to put Mazda in victory lane and to strive for more championship trophies, adding to the substantial Mazda and Joest Racing legacies in the years ahead.”

Doonan also thanked longtime partner SpeedSource and owner Sylvain Tremblay, commenting: “We accomplished a great deal with their organization at all levels of the sport for more than two decades. They are a perfect example of a team that has grown through our Mazda system: from grassroots club racing, to Rolex 24 race-winning efforts in GT and then on to the Prototype program.”

Mazda Team Joest will soon begin testing the Mazda RT24-P in preparation for next season and will retain the production-inspired bodywork, and the turbocharged four-cylinder, 2.0-liter inline Mazda MZ-2.0T engine developed by Advanced Engine Research (AER).

Multimatic Motorsports will remain part of the team, working with Joest in testing and simulation work but Joest Racing will establish a North American headquarters for the race team in the Atlanta area.

The press released stated that the four current Mazda Prototype drivers “will participate in the testing and development, but the 2018 driver lineup is yet to be determined.”

 

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