Mazda Team Joest had a challenging IMSA Sports Car Classic on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday afternoon as the team came away from the 100-minute race with a ninth-place finish.
The No. 77 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda RT24-P driven by Tristan Nunez started from eighth with the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P driven by Jonathan Bomarito alongside it in ninth. Bomarito’s race would be short-lived, however, as after another car made contact with him on the opening lap, he was forced to retire the car with a drivetrain issue a short time later.
With track position at a premium on the temporary 2.3-mile Raceway at Belle Isle, Mazda Team Joest employed a strategy to allow Oliver Jarvis, who had taken over the No. 77 during the first pit stop, to move up to fourth position after the Prototype class cars had pitted for the final time. The alternate strategy, however, was an aggressive one in terms of fuel consumption and the team came up short on the final lap of the race. Nunez and Jarvis were credited with a ninth-place finish.
The next round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on June 28 – July 1.
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports
“When you factor in where we had to start the race and how Tristan and Olly made it through the field, the No. 77 had a decent day that, unfortunately, was not rewarded with a decent finish. We knew to have a shot at a strong finish we would need to be aggressive, and Mazda’s challenger spirit – which our racing teams embody – means that we push ourselves but also that we think outside the box a little bit. So we rolled the dice on the fuel, but we came up just a little bit short. We know we had a fast car and we’ll move forward from here to Watkins Glen, a track that we are excited for racing at with our Mazdas.”
No. 55 Mazda RT24-P
“The start of the race was very busy and action-packed, but we were able to keep the car out of trouble and make up a couple of positions. Then all of a sudden, we lost drive and the race was over. It’s a shame because the car had improved with each session and it was pretty quick at the start the race, but we’ll put it behind us and just keep pushing.”
“It’s a tough day for us to be out of the race so early and not have a chance to show the potential of our Mazda RT24-P. The Detroit circuit is very fast and flowing for a street circuit, and we were optimistic that we could score a good result for Mazda here today – and I was really looking forward to getting behind the wheel. Jonathan had a great start, and I was excited to get my chance but I’ll just have to wait for the next one.”
No. 77 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda RT24-P
“I wanted to have a clean start and just put the Mazda RT24-P in a position where Olly could take it over and push for the rest of the race. Luckily it worked out well. I was able to make up a few positions and we got the driver change out of the way the first chance we get. The team put Olly in a good spot just outside the podium, but it didn’t quite work out. But, we had a good race going and the car was fast, so now we’ll just do our best to be prepared for Watkins Glen.”
“We had the right strategy and a good Mazda RT24-P today in Detroit. Tristan drove a perfect opening stint and the team made the right calls each time with our pit stops. We knew the fuel would be a little bit of a gamble, and unfortunately it didn’t quite pan out. It just makes us hungrier for the next race.”