IRVINE, Calif. (January 21, 2020) – After setting the fastest time of the weekend for the Daytona Prototype international class at the Roar Before the 24, Mazda Team Joest returns to Daytona International Speedway this weekend with one goal in mind.
Driving the Arctic White No. 77 Mazda RT24-P, Olivier Pla unofficially broke the Daytona International Speedway course record at the Roar Before the 24 earlier in January. The course record was set by his teammate, Oliver Jarvis, during qualifying for the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Pla and Jarvis will share the car with Tristan Nunez.
The team’s other car, the Soul Red Crystal No. 55 Mazda RT24-P, will be driven by Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay, the former IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, will take part in the endurance races this season with Mazda Team Joest. The two Mazdas combined to lead six of the eight sessions at the Roar Before the 24.
Bomarito have previous class victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Bomarito winning in the GT class in 2010 driving a Mazda RX-8 and Jarvis winning in the GT-Daytona class in 2013.
Qualifying for the Rolex 24 at Daytona will be streamed live on Thursday, January 23 at 4:05 PM EST at IMSA.tv. The race broadcast will begin on NBC on Saturday, January 25 at 1:30 PM ET before moving to NBC Sports and the NBC Sports App before finishing again on NBC on Sunday, January 24 at 12:00 PM ET. The race is also available in its entirety on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
Director, Mazda Motorsports
“Everyone in the program did an outstanding job over the winter in the testing and preparation of the Mazda RT24-Ps, and it showed with how well both cars ran during the Roar. The performance of the drivers and team at the Roar was a real statement to how seriously they are taking the challenge of winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona for Mazda. We know we have speed, but we will have to be nearly perfect to come out ahead of the competition in this race.”
NO. 55 MAZDA RT24-P
“I am really excited for this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. We had a great three days of testing at the Roar and are using that momentum to get ready for the race. Harry and Ryan are great teammates and we all work really well together, so I think all pieces are In place to have a really successful race. There is a lot that’s out of your control in a race this long, but we just need to focus on what we can control and do our part as drivers.”
“We had a very productive test at the Roar Before the 24, leading up to this weekend’s race. We are all aware that this will be a very difficult race. The competition is extremely tight, so we’re just going to focus on being methodical and executing stint by stint. Our aim is to be in the fight for the sprint race in the last few hours.”
“I’m really excited to get the Rolex 24 underway. It doesn’t seem that long since we were at this point in 2018. Since then, we broke the lap record at Daytona and won three races – and the momentum we have this year is higher than ever. The Roar went great with Olivier achieving the fastest lap and Mazda topping most of the sessions. We know we have the pace to compete, and if the reliability follows, I have no doubt we’ll be huge contenders.”
NO. 77 MAZDA RT24-P
“With a strong second half of the 2019 season and a great Roar Before the 24 behind us, we are heading to the Rolex 24 at Daytona full of confidence. We know we have a quick car but as always in a 24-hour race, reliability will play a key role. This is an area we have worked incredibly hard over the winter and the team have done an incredible job. I have won this race in GT-Daytona, but now I want to win it overall and to do that with Mazda Team Joest would be incredibly special.”
“I am really looking forward to the 24. We have started the new year off on a high note at the Roar. We have two very quick Mazda RT24-Ps and the preparation from everyone involved has been exceptional. Daytona is a tough race, but the team and our partners have turned the Mazda RT24-P into a race-winning car, and now we want to turn it into a Daytona-winning car. We showed outstanding pace at the Roar and I don’t see that changing come race day. I’m fortunate to be teamed with some of the best drivers in the world, and with all the pieces in place I feel confident about our chances.”
“We enjoyed a very productive test at the Roar with a positive mind and very focused on our target. Of course, it was nice to be the fastest person at the Roar, but in endurance racing a lot can happen, especially with mixed classes and with different weather conditions. Our goal is to run our race and stay out of trouble and stay out of the pits and have the best Mazda RT24-P possible for the final stints of the race.”
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 700 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.
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 Mazda Team Joest. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Follow all of the latest news at MazdaMotorsports.com, @MazdaRacing on Twitter, and Mazda Motorsports on Instagram and Facebook.
Drew Cary, Mazda North American Operations, 949-727-6525
Efrain Olivares, Mazda North American Operations, 818-254-7196