SEBRING, Fla. (March 18, 2018) – Until the final pit stop of the 66th Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P driven by Jonathan Bomarito, Spencer Pigot and Harry Tincknell was closing in on a potential victory at the famed circuit.
After leading the race for 58 laps and contending for victory throughout the day, the car would encounter an electric issue that prevented it from quickly starting at the final pit stop. Once it did start, the car finished the race in sixth position. The pair of Mazdas had shown winning potential earlier in the race when they ran first and second in the second hour of the race. After the No. 77 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda RT24-P was slowed in the fourth hour with a braking issue, the no. 55 Mazda RT24-P would contend for the victory throughout the rest of the race.
Olivier Jarvis set the fastest lap of the race and track record for IMSA’s Prototype class in the no. 77 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda RT24-P with a time of 1:49.002 around the 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway circuit. The car, which he shared with Rene Rast and Tristan Nunez, finished the race in eighth position.
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13-14.
JOHN DOONAN, DIRECTOR, MAZDA MOTORSPORTS
“It was an incredible day for Mazda Team Joest. If someone had told me we were going to be competitive, lead as many laps as we did, set a new track record and jump everybody on pit stops and fuel range I don’t think I would have believed them. I’m very proud of how the team and all of our technical partners performed today – it was a big step forward from Daytona. We dealt with a lot of adversity today, but I couldn’t be more proud of the way our drivers drove and the way the guys over the wall performed. It stings a bit to have a potential win snatched away from us right at the end, but we definitely made everybody stand up and take notice.“
NO. 55 MAZDA RT24-P
“It’s great that we are able to fight for the lead with the Mazda RT24-P. The performance of the car was great – we worked our way up through the field and were battling for the lead throughout the day. We showed today that Mazda Team Joest has the pace to win, and we nearly pulled off a big win today. It really was an amazing race for the team. The guys in charge of the strategy, the crew guys doing the pit stops, and the drivers did their job today.“
“To be in fourth position on the restart with 40 minutes to go at Sebring is what you train and live for, so it was amazing to be in contention. Mazda Team Joest has done an unbelievable job to turn the car around and I can’t thank them enough to be in the car at the end of the race fighting with the best of the best in Prototype. Even before the start of the season I thought the Mazda RT24-P could definitely win races this year, and we nearly won this one. We are a bit dissapointed at the moment, but there are massive positives to look forward to the rest of the year.“
“We were excited about the prospects that we had throughout the race in the Mazda RT24-P. The crew guys were fast – in pit lane, we jumped spots every time we came in so that was great. We all led the race at different points throughout the twelve hours, so everything was looking good. Unfortunately we had an issue that showed up at the end, but I think we can all hold our heads up high and know that we can fight at the front.“
NO. 77 CASTROL/MODSPACE MAZDA RT24-P
“We had pace in the car and we kept pushing to see whether or not we could come back from our defecit. My teammates had done some quick laps, so I wanted to see if I could do one as well and I was lucky to get a clear lap. But as you can see, we had a great Mazda RT24-P today. It was really competitive and a huge step forward from Daytona and I think any issues we have can be solved pretty quickly. Big thanks to Mazda Team Joest as they’ve worked so hard to allow us the ability to race like we did today. We showed everyone that we have the performance and potential to win.“
“We were super fast throughout the whole race. The crew gave us a great car – we were genuinely fast and fighting for the lead until we encountered some issues which set us back. The Mazda RT24-P was awesome and there was no doubt we could have had a race win. But it was a great effort by everyone on the team to finish in eighth place. It’s been a while since I had this much fun in a car and it’s very promising for the rest of the year.“
“I was really happy with the Mazda today. It was very competitive, and the team made a huge step forward after Daytona thanks to Mazda Team Joest. After we had the issues early in the race we were able to make up several laps, some because of strategy but the speed of the car helped because we were always passing and moving forward.“
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Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24) program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the Global MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy (#MRTI) is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Mazda is also the title sponsor of the renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Follow all of the latest news at MazdaMotorsports.com, @MazdaRacing on Twitter, and MazdaMotorsports on Instagram and Facebook.
Mazda North American Operations
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, California, and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 600 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at InsideMazda.MazdaUSA.com/Newsroom.
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Tim Olson, Mazda North American Operations, (949) 727-6551
Efrain Olivares, Mazda Motorsports, (818) 254-7196