Mazda to end IMSA Prototype program in October

This will be the final season for Mazda Motorsports in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Prototype category, it was announced today.

The RT24-P, run by Multimatic since last February, first raced in 2017, under the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s then-new DPi regulations.

While LMDh rules have been pushed back to 2023, Mazda has elected to not continue running the car in 2022 – and apparently has decided not to enter the new era of collaboration between IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, that will see LMDh cars eligible in both series.

“After five years of participating in IMSA’s DPi series, Mazda is opting to end its program at the close of the 2021 season with the Motul Petit Le Mans race in October,” read a statement issued today. “This was determined after an internal assessment of the current DPi series and the future LMDh series, and concludes Mazda’s participation in prototype racing.

“Starting in 2022, Mazda will focus its motorsports efforts on MX-5 Cup and grassroots racing. The MX-5 Cup, a signature single-make series, remains the cornerstone of Mazda’s racing efforts. This series, combined with ongoing support of grassroots racing, ensures Mazda’s celebrated heritage in motorsports continues.”

The Mazda RT24-P was run initially by SpeedSource, then Joest before finally switching to Multimatic after last year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

In 2019, the elegant cars scored their breakthrough win when Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell and Olivier Pla conquered the Watkins Glen 6 Hours. The sister car of Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez then captured victory at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, before Tincknell and Bomarito landed a third consecutive triumph at Road America.

Last year, in an IMSA season heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bomarito and Tincknell won again at the July 4 2hr40min race in Daytona, and then – along with former IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay – ended the season with Sebring 12 Hours victory.

Mazda cut back to one car for this year, to be driven by Tincknell and Jarvis full-time, with Bomarito added as the endurance driver. This trio opened the 2021 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a third place in the Rolex 24, overcoming several issues that left the #55 car three laps down at one stage.

“Mazda has a long history in racing and recently added several DPi victories and podium finishes during the 2020 season,” said chairman and CEO of Mazda North American Operations Masahiro Moro. “This is a tribute to our ‘never stop challenging’ spirit.

“We’re especially proud of our victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring, podium finishes at Daytona’s Rolex 24 in both 2020 and 2021, and record-setting laps at Daytona in 2019 and 2020.

“These are significant accomplishments in the history of Mazda Motorsports. We thank our drivers, team, partners, and our fans for their years of support, and look forward to a strong 2021 season.”

Additionally, Mazda motorsports director, Nelson Cosgrove, will be leaving Mazda at the end of February.

“Mazda is grateful to Nelson for his contribution to Mazda’s motorsports efforts and wishes him well in his future endeavors,” read the statement. “Mo Murray, senior vice president of Garage Team Mazda, will oversee Mazda’s DPi program starting in March.”

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