Audi Le Mans legend Joest to run Mazda's IMSA sportscar programme

Mazda will bring in the Joest team that masterminded Audi's Le Mans dominance to run its IMSA SportsCar Championship programme in 2018

Audi Le Mans legend Joest to run Mazda's IMSA sportscar programme

The two SpeedSource-run Mazda RT24-Ps have taken three podium finishes in this year's IMSA series with driver pairings Jonathan Bomarito/Tristan Nunez and Joel Miller/Tom Long but have been off the pace of the dominant Cadillac and Nissan DPi cars.

As a result, Mazda will withdraw from the rest of the 2017 IMSA season to allow what will become Mazda Team Joest maximum time to prepare for its debut at next January's Daytona 24 Hours.

"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 and managing executive officer of Mazda Motor Corporation.

"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."

Joest has achieved 15 Le Mans wins and 10 Sebring 12 Hours victories in its programmes with Porsche and Audi.

Team manager Ralf Juttner said Joest was "excited and proud" to join forces with Mazda.

"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," he said.

Mazda North America's director of motorsports John Doonan said Reinhold Joest's team's sportscar achievements were "not likely to ever be matched", but also paid tribute to Mazda's long-time partner SpeedSource and its owner Sylvain Tremblay.

"We accomplished a great deal with their organisation at all levels of the sport for more than two decades," Doonan said of SpeedSource.

"They are a perfect example of a team that has grown through our Mazda system: from grassroots club racing, to Rolex 24 [Daytona] race-winning efforts in GT and then on to the Prototype programme."

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-litre inline Mazda MZ-2.0T engine developed by Advanced Engine Research.

Multimatic Motorsports will remain part of the team, working with Joest in testing and simulation work, but Joest 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 line-up is yet to be determined."

shares
comments
McLaren protege Lando Norris to contest 2018 Daytona 24 Hours
Previous article

McLaren protege Lando Norris to contest 2018 Daytona 24 Hours

Next article

Joest expects IMSA testing programme with Mazda to start next month

Joest expects IMSA testing programme with Mazda to start next month
Load comments
How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts Plus

How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts

OPINION: Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why IMSA glory for Mazda would be a bittersweet ending Plus

Why IMSA glory for Mazda would be a bittersweet ending

Mazda believes it has never had a better chance of clinching the title in IMSA's Prototype division. Achieving this goal would be the bittersweet culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit

IMSA
Apr 11, 2021
The groundbreaking new boss leading GM's sportscar assault Plus

The groundbreaking new boss leading GM's sportscar assault

After taking over Corvette Racing from long-time custodian Doug Fehan, 34-year-old Laura Wontrop Klauser is leading General Motors through a transitional phase in sportscar racing. Here’s how she got into her dream role and what she plans to do with it

IMSA
Mar 21, 2021
Nine things to look out for at the 2021 Daytona 24 Hours Plus

Nine things to look out for at the 2021 Daytona 24 Hours

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Plus

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitter Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Plus

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories

IMSA
Jan 28, 2021
The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked Plus

The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked

The 2020 edition of the Florida sportscar classic is finally taking place this weekend, eight months after its traditional date in March. That meant there was plenty of time for Autosport to pour over its previous 67 races and select the best

IMSA
Nov 11, 2020
When Porsche became a giant-killer Plus

When Porsche became a giant-killer

In the first of a new series celebrating underdog achievements from the annals of motorsport history, we revisit the 2015 Petit Le Mans - where a tyre advantage in appallingly wet conditions helped the GT cars overcome the prototypes

IMSA
Apr 15, 2020