Mazda has "by far" its best IMSA SportsCar Championship package as it prepares for the Daytona 24 Hours, says Harry Tincknell.
The operation enjoyed a breakthrough 2019 season and claimed a hat-trick of race wins, but reliability issues meant success in the three blue riband events at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans eluded it.
Mazda ended this month's 'Roar Before the 24' test fastest, Olivier Pla topping the timesheets by 0.219 seconds aboard the #77 RT24-P in the qualifying session that determined pit stall and garage allocation, ahead of the best of the Penske Acuras.
The sister #55 car that Tincknell will share with Jonathan Bomarito and Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth fastest of the Daytona Prototype international cars, but did top two of the seven test sessions.
Tincknell said he was encouraged by the level of preparation that has gone into ensuring the RT24-P can run smoothly over 24 hours.
"The big thing we've focused on is reliability; that was the clear focus over the winter," Tincknell told Autosport.
"We did two 30-hour tests [at Aragon and Daytona] and the results were very positive.
"There have been a lot of small changes to try and find reliability, there was no focus on performance.
"We have by far the best package we've ever had in three years, but we need to be reliable for 24 hours in public before people will take us super seriously.
"We're quietly confident, we are much more prepared compared to last year. We've learnt from our failures."
On whether he felt the Roar qualifying session was representative, Tincknell added: "Last year we saw others hold back, we were fastest by seven tenths [actually 0.863s], but then we were the fastest in qualifying and one of the fastest in the race.
"This year, the others took a while to show their hand, but I think the mock qualifying was a pretty accurate reflection of where all the manufacturers stand.
"Everyone was at or very close to their potential, which is a good omen."
While Mazda is targeting victory at Daytona and the other major events on the IMSA calendar, Tincknell said the overall championship is also an important target.
"Winning at Daytona would be huge for my career, if we could do it," said Tincknell.
"But if we can't win at Daytona, we want to finish second, or if we can't finish second we want to finish third. "We don't want to be last because we had an issue.
"That's why we've focused so much on reliability, because we have the championship in mind. And because of the way the points system is in IMSA, consistency is huge.
"We want to emulate Acura's consistency from last year.
"Last year was the breakthrough year for Mazda with three wins. The first year [with Joest, 2018] was an uphill year, and we hope the third year will be the championship year."