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DTM champion Rene Rast close to deal for Mazda/Joest IMSA '18 races

DTM champion Rene Rast is close to confirming outings with the relaunched Mazda Team Joest IMSA SportsCar Championship outfit for 2018, Autosport has learned

Rast drove the Mazda RT24-P DPi car in a Hockenheim test conducted by Mazda and Joest earlier this year.

Any IMSA deal for Rast would be dependent on his DTM commitments, but Autosport understands he could race at the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours, and also contest the six hour race at Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans.

Rast did not attend the team's recent Daytona test and although a Mazda spokesperson said he is likely to race the car, no deal has been signed yet.

Joest team principal Ralf Juttner added: "He is an option that is being considered, but I cannot confirm anything."

The car had a shakedown test at Donington Park last month as it closes on a final specification ahead of its 2018 debut at Daytona.

Juttner says the two days of testing at Daytona this week had been productive, with changes such as new suspension added to the car.

"A lot has happened under the hood," said Juttner.

"The rear suspension is almost completely new, but also a lot of other things, it's going really well, the car ran through the test for two days without any problems and it was really good."

It is understood that Mazda will announce its full-time line-up for 2018 in the coming weeks, with contracts now being completed.

Oliver Jarvis is said to be an option for the team, and Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito have both driven the car in testing, having been a part of the Mazda team last season.

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