Big News From Mazda’s Prototype Racing Effort

Ed
By Ed Higginbotham
Jul 19, 2017 | Mazda

This just in: Mazda’s prototype racing effort will be managed by Joest Racing starting with the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

IRVINE, Calif. (July 18, 2017) – Mazda Motorsports begins a new era today with the creation of Mazda Team Joest, which will be the factory Mazda Prototype race team competing in the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship under Daytona Prototype international (DPi) rules. The team will make its racing debut at the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
(
Pronounced Y?st)

Joest Racing is one of the most successful endurance sports car teams in history, with 16 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans plus multiple wins in prestigious North American races such as the Rolex 24 at Daytona, ten wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and six titles at Petit Le Mans. Joest found much of its success as the factory team for Audi from 1999 until the manufacturer ended the program after the 2016 season. Prior to that, Joest Racing had multiple Le Mans victories with Porsche, and was the factory team for Opel in DTM, the German touring car series. The German company was created in 1978 by then-factory Porsche driver Reinhold Joest.

Mazda’s racing heritage includes being the only Asian manufacturer to win overall at Le Mans, plus 22 class victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, 13 class wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and 11 major season championships. According to IMSA statistics, Mazda is the third-most successful manufacturer in the history of North American professional sports car racing, powering 155 major-series victories.

“Since Mazda first took to the race track in 1964, our ‘Never Stop Challenging’ spirit means that every time we race, we strive for victories and championships,” said Masahiro Moro, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) and managing executive officer, Mazda Motor Corporation (MMC). “The creation of Mazda Team Joest provides us a unique opportunity to partner with a team with proven success in the prototype ranks, and gives us the best chance to return Mazda to the top step of the podium. I welcome the Joest family to the Mazda family, and I’m convinced that, together, we will write many more pages in the book of Mazda racing successes.”

“We are excited and proud about this new opportunity with Mazda,” said Ralf Jüttner, managing director of Joest Racing. “Mazda has such a long tradition in motorsport and, especially in America, has created a huge platform for racing enthusiasts. For us, this is not only a return to American racing, which we have always enjoyed, but also great news to the big group of our Japanese fans, who have always warmly embraced us.”

John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American Operations, recognizes the new pairing as a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“This is an important moment in Mazda Motorsports history as we align our brand’s top-level sports car racing program with one of the best sports car teams of all time,” said Doonan. “What Mr. Joest, Ralf Jüttner and the entire Joest Racing organization have accomplished is not likely to ever be matched. We are very excited to work with them to put Mazda in victory lane and to strive for more championship trophies, adding to the substantial Mazda and Joest Racing legacies in the years ahead.”

With the full focus turning to 2018, Mazda’s current Prototype team will not compete in the three remaining IMSA races this season.

“I want to thank our long-time partners at SpeedSource Race Engineering and owner, Sylvain Tremblay,” said Doonan. “We accomplished a great deal with their organization at all levels of the sport for more than two decades. They are a perfect example of a team that has grown through our Mazda system: from grassroots club racing, to Rolex 24 race-winning efforts in GT and then on to the Prototype program. Friendships in our sport run deep and we certainly don’t see that changing.”

Mazda Team Joest will soon begin testing the Mazda RT24-P in preparation for next season. The production-inspired bodywork treatment developed in concert with Mazda designers will remain, as will the turbocharged four-cylinder, 2.0-liter inline Mazda MZ-2.0T engine which produces approximately 600 horsepower, developed by Advanced Engine Research (AER).

Multimatic Motorsports, of Markham, Ontario, Canada, which was heavily involved in the creation of the Mazda RT24-P, has taken the lead to refine and improve the chassis, and will work closely with Joest in testing and simulation work. The four current Mazda Prototype drivers will participate in the testing and development, but the 2018 driver lineup is yet to be determined.

Joest Racing, based in Wald-Michelbach, Germany, will establish a North American headquarters for the race team in the Atlanta area.

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Comments
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fidelity101
fidelity101 SuperDork
7/18/17 1:25 p.m.

just put a rotary in it already! I'm tired of seeing these lose.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/18/17 1:42 p.m.

And the transcript from today's press conference:

Mazda Motorsports Media Conference Tuesday, July 18, 2017

John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American Operations Ralf Jüttner, managing director of Joest Racing

Announcing Mazda Team Joest

JADE GURSS: Hello, this is Jade Gurss. I handle PR for Mazda Motorsports. We want to thank everyone for joining us this morning or this afternoon, wherever you might be in the world. It's a very exciting day for us at Mazda. We appreciate you joining us to help share the news.

I'm going to turn it over to the director of Mazda Motorsports, John Doonan. John, if you can share our big news today.

JOHN DOONAN: This is a very momentous occasion for not just Mazda Motorsports, but frankly for the Mazda brand in general.

I would like to thank everyone who has joined us today, especially members of the media. Without you, it's nearly impossible for Mazda to continue to tell our story in the marketplace, not only in the racing marketplace, but to a broader audience, about how special the Mazda brand is, how special our product is, and how much we care about driving, and the relationship of driver and car.

There's no greater expression than the relationship of driver and car than there is on the race track. We believe that from our grassroots programs all the way up through the Mazda Road to Indy, the Mazda Road to 24, and our pinnacle program, which is our top-level sports car racing program.

Mazda has a rich history in sports car racing here in North America as well as internationally. Today is a historic moment for us as we unveil and announce the formation of Mazda Team Joest. We are so honored to be able to bring Team Joest into the Mazda family. What Mr. Joest and Ralf Jüttner have done with their entire staff is absolutely amazing, and we welcome them into the Mazda family to manage our IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Racing Championship program, our two-car prototype program with the Mazda RT24-P.

This is a huge opportunity for us to continue to put Mazda closer to the top of the grid, and most importantly to the top step of the podium in race wins and championships. This is a very special opportunity for us. We're thrilled, could not be more pleased.

Now it's time to get to work and deliver results for the Mazda brand, for our Mazda dealers, and for the hundreds and thousands and millions of Mazda fans around the world that have invested in driving a Mazda road car, that follow our racing programs, take pride and gain great joy from seeing Mazda succeed. Honored to make that announcement.

JADE GURSS: It may be an obvious question, but explain why Joest Racing was the chosen team, and what that really means for the Mazda prototype program.

JOHN DOONAN: Well, to have a successful program in motorsport, it takes a good chassis, a good car, a good engine, good drivers, a good team. But beyond all that, especially in the world we live in today, the balance of performance, it takes fantastic people.

Frankly, when you look through the record books of sports car racing, one of the greatest teams of all-time is Team Joest. From that standpoint, when you have an opportunity to work with one of the greatest of all time, it's a no-brainer.

At the same time, Joest has a terrific relationship and history and fan following in our home country of Japan. That played a key role.

I also think that from the first time we met, there was instant chemistry, a common set of interests: winning races, winning championships. In the end, when you've got an organization like Mr. Joest and Ralf and the entire team they have built, they have represented top-level manufacturers in this very competitive industry of sports car racing, you see all those pieces come together, and it makes terrific sense.

You add in folks like Multimatic, AER, and our terrific drivers from the Mazda Road to 24 and the Mazda Road to Indy, all those pieces start to come together.

JADE GURSS: We thought it would be good to just give you a quick primer on the history of Mazda in sports car racing:

According to IMSA data, Mazda has the third most victories among all manufacturers in sports car racing in North America. We have 155 major sports car victories here in North America. Mazda is the only Asian manufacturer to win Le Mans. Mazda has 22 class victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. We also have 13 class victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring. So that is a small thumbnail of the success that Mazda has had through the years, and that includes 11 major sports car championships.

The second part of today's announcement, we're really thrilled to introduce Mr. Ralf Jüttner, who is the managing director of Joest Racing.

Ralf, we want to welcome you.

RALF JÜTTNER: Hello, good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'm really happy to join you all here in this press conference from Germany. Thank you, John, for your opening words.

We at Joest Racing are really excited and we're also proud about the new partnership with Mazda. Mazda has a very, very long and big tradition, as we have just heard, in motorsports, and especially in the United States. They have built a really huge platform for all sorts of racing enthusiasts, you can say, from grassroots racing up to what we are discussing about now today in the IMSA WeatherTech program.

For us, it's really not only coming back to racing in America, which we have always enjoyed. We have done that before with the very old past with Porsches, more recently with the Audis. It has always been a big pleasure. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the racing over in America. We are really happy to come back.

Also, as John said, not only do we have a huge fan base in America, we also have a really good fan base in Japan, which we are very happy about, and proud. They have embraced us always every time when we had a race in Japan.

Therefore, we are really, really happy with this setup that we have a Japanese manufacturer racing in America. Again, agreeing with what John said, the chemistry and the wavelengths were there from the beginning. The IMSA WeatherTech Championship, being in its first year in the form that we have it now, I think has already shown really, really good racing, and competitive racing.

We all know that with announcements like today and announcements like a few days ago, the competition level and the quality and the racing will get even better. So we are really looking forward to the task that's ahead. We know it's a difficult one, but we are ready for it.

JADE GURSS: Ralf is very humble, so on his behalf I wanted to share some of the superlatives about Joest Racing. Quite a team.

They have a long success in sports car racing. They are the former factory team for Audi from 1999 to 2016. They've also been the factory team for Porsche, as well as Opel in the DTM Series. They have a huge level of success, 16 overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is pretty amazing.

Here in North America, they have 10 overall victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring. They have six wins at Petit Le Mans, then two victories overall at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and that goes with eight major season championships.

Ralf, a question for you. It's very simple, but explain your thoughts on why Joest has been so successful. What elements make your team such a success?

RALF JÜTTNER: You say it's a simple question, but I don't think it's that simple (smiling). It's a question quite often asked, to be honest. It's really not so easy to explain.

But it is about the level of preparation, which is very, very important in racing in general and endurance racing even more. It's about the preparation for the unexpected, let's say. So try to think about everything that can go wrong and prepare for it, then other things will go wrong. But then we will have more capacity to deal with it.

But the most part of it is really just the people you are working with. There I have to say, since many, many years, we have a very, very stable, strong group of people that are just amazing. They are dedicated. They are really good in their job. They are living what they are doing. That's 100% the most important point.

JADE GURSS: Now we'd like to open it up for questions.

Q. Ralf, how much of an involvement will Joest have in further developments with Multimatic on the car?

RALF JÜTTNER: I hope a lot (smiling). We want to bring all the experience that we have gathered in endurance racing into this project, and therefore I expect a really, really close relationship with Multimatic on the development of the car and the improvement on the car.

So I guess, yes, this should be a lot. We will both bring in whatever we have. We all know Multimatic knows how to build race cars. That is not a question. But we will put all our input together and try to come up with the best we can.

Q. John, congratulations on the program. Would you please confirm what this means for the rest of the season for the Mazda prototype program.

JOHN DOONAN: Thank you.

This means that the two-car effort that we've currently been campaigning in the WeatherTech Championship will unfortunately not compete in the three remaining rounds at Road America, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans. That is due to the fact we will put all focus and energy on preparation for the 2018 season, testing both in Europe as well as here in the States, to get ready to do battle during the 2018 season, starting with the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

Q. John, please explain the focus on the test program and what went into that decision to withdraw from the final few races.

JOHN DOONAN: Well, I would be remiss before answering that question if I did not thank our long-term partners at SpeedSource, Sylvain Tremblay, his entire organization, for what they accomplished for the Mazda brand. They're literally a perfect example of a team, much like our driver development program that started out as grassroots and grew all the way to the top level.

But the real reason for the focus on testing is exactly that. Back to the question about further developing about the RT24-P. Larry Holt and his team at Multimatic are dedicated in an all-hands-on-deck fashion to help us further develop that car. Our engines partners at AER are all-in. Obviously giving Mazda Team Joest, the opportunity to get out and test with Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nuñez, Joe Miller, Tom Long to put miles on that package.

As Ralf said, prepare for every potential scenario that we could face heading into the 2018 season, because we are going to the race track to do one thing, and that's to win races and win championships for the Mazda brand and for all the Mazda fans.

Q. Ralf, when will testing begin? What is the timeline for that to begin taking place?

RALF JÜTTNER: We expect to be starting with the testing as soon as August, without going into detail on the test program. But in the next month we expect to have the car rolling.

Q. With the somewhat limited development allowed by the DPI rules, how much do you think the car can be developed in concert with Multimatic?

RALF JÜTTNER: Yeah, of course there are restrictions with the homologation of the cars. There are areas that can be touched and areas that are more difficult to be touched.

We are going, together with Multimatic, the IMSA organization, the technical guys there, to make sure that we don't leave anything out where we can put hands on.

It's not that you have a clean sheet of paper and you can start from scratch, that's clear. But I still think there's a lot of potential that can be unlocked.

The other thing is that we need to work on reliability, because that's the first thing that you have to have in order to finish on top. That's clear.

Q. John, what do you think the main areas are that will need work on the car to really improve its reliability? What elements are you most focused upon here going forward?

JOHN DOONAN: As Ralf indicated, without going into too many details on our test program, I think I'd like to give kudos to the IMSA organization. That starts with Jim France, the France family, Scott Atherton, Ed Bennett, and then the technical team Simon Hodgson, Geoff Carter, Mark Raffauf, that entire team of folks has worked extremely hard. There's plenty of days that I'm glad I don't have their job because they work extremely hard to keep a lot of people happy all the time. That's nearly impossible in our sport, as we know.

But I think within the regulations, of course, we're going to do what we can. More so than reliability, I think it's more race-ability and competitiveness. That's our focus.

Clearly, from an engine standpoint, we've found a sweet spot right now. But Larry Holt, and his Multimatic team, Peter Gibbons, Stephen Charsley, Julian Robertson. Everyone there is laser-focused on doing what we can to make the Mazda RT24-P the best package it can be going forward as we take on all those at the top level of the championship.

So, again, can't share too many details, but definitely interested in our race-ability and our ability to compete up front versus reliability and durability. Those things I know Ralf and his team are so focused and have such experience on those elements of durability and reliability, being prepared to finish, I think my keen interest is on how we're going to be able to race this package against the best that's out there.

Q. Ralf, does this involve a re-homologation of the car? Will your testing be with the current car or with a further developed version?

RALF JÜTTNER: There is, for sure, some discussions with IMSA about the homologation. It's not a complete re-homologation, for sure. Homologation processes is anyway not completely closed.

The testing will be done with a car that does already have some modifications in it. We expect more to come throughout the remainder of this year until then we have a version that we think is the right one to start the season in 2018.

Q. John, what impact will this have on Mazda's grassroots mantra to a bigger prototype program on the driver lineup? How will that be determined?

JOHN DOONAN: I love that question. Actually, Ralf is the first person that will back me up on this. But when we first visited with Ralf and Mr. Joest, we put an image up on the screen of a pyramid which shows what Mazda's motorsports strategy is.

The base of that pyramid is our grassroots program. That is our foundation. All of the different steps we've been able to create in the Mazda Road to 24 and the Mazda Road to Indy start from the grassroots.

I was pretty clear with Ralf and Mr. Joest that that can't change. That is a critical part of our strategy. It's a critical part of our business. In the end, that allows our Mazda fans, who take great Mazda road cars and make them into great race cars, the opportunity to compete.

We're a participatory brand. We love seeing our owners and our competitors be able to participate in autocross, solo, rally cross, and road racing.

Out of that comes drivers with aspirations of racing at the top, at the Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Le Mans.

So the Mazda Road to 24, the Mazda Road to Indy has been an absolutely fertile growth opportunity for young talent to race and develop their career in Mazdas or Mazda-powered cars.

So it's our vision, and Ralf and Mr. Joest certainly agree, to have a pipeline of young talent coming up through the Mazda system. They're homegrown. We're very proud of that. We're very proud of the drivers that have graduated within the system. And over time a few of them have got away. There's plenty of names in top-level sports car positions, John Edwards, Joey Hand, Connor de Phillippi, that have come out of the Mazda system.

Also when you look at the open-wheel side of the industry, when you have 25 of 33 drivers that at some point have participated in either the Mazda Road to Indy or Indy Lights, which is now part of the Mazda Road to Indy, we're proud of those statistics.

In short, our vision is to continue to develop young talent out of that system. We believe in the group of drivers that have represented us in the prototype program to date. We're going to continue to find ways to make sure that the Mazda brand is standing on the top step of the podium, whatever it takes.

Q. A lot of us like to talk about Mazda's KODO design, our Mazda designers were involved in the look of the race car. Do you expect the liveries to be in the Mazda traditional colors or will there be a Joest influence on the look of the cars next season?

JOHN DOONAN: You're absolutely right, the opportunity that IMSA gave manufacturers to integrate their brand, design cues and design language is exactly the value that we can take from our sports car racing effort at the highest level.

Our design team is very proud of it. We are very proud of machine gray and crystal soul red, soul red crystal. So I don't envision those types of things changing.

Mr. Joest, Ralf, and the entire team, have represented manufacturers in the past. This is about Mazda, and putting our brand in the best possible light. We're thrilled to have the opportunity to do it with Team Joest.

But we'll see what the design team cooks up. They were focused on creating a common logo for our two brands today. We'll see what they come up with for 2018.

I'm excited myself to see what they have in store.

Q. John, I'm sure IMSA will miss both cars greatly for the rest of the season. Was there any consideration to run one car for the remainder of the season, similar to what you did when you moved from the diesel to the petrol engine program?

JOHN DOONAN: We looked at every scenario about potentially running one car, both cars. Unfortunately, the direction that we had to head strategically was to do as we suggested and not compete in the final three events.

Pretty difficult for people that have invested so much into it, from technicians and mechanics and drivers. But the focus is on 2018. The focus is on testing and getting Team Joest focused on learning the car and that type of thing.

It was a difficult decision, by all means. Long-term friendships there and that type of thing figure into this. I think for those who aren't in the industry, they make an assumption that our relationships are all adversarial. That's definitely not the case.

So tough decision, but we've shared with IMSA the situation, and it's bittersweet in that respect. But, as I said, the focus is 100% on delivering results in 2018.

Q. John, regarding the driver lineup, what is the timeline about making those decisions or making an announcement for the driver lineup for 2018?

JOHN DOONAN: As Ralf shared, we hope to be on track testing within the next 30 or 40 days. Our current driver lineup will be part of that testing program. Shortly thereafter, as soon as we possibly can, because I certainly respect everybody's lives and families and things like that, they're all life decisions in the end when it comes to employment, especially in our industry. So hopefully sometime prior to the end of the 2017 championship we'll be able to make an announcement around our driver lineup that will carry us into 2018.

Q. John, is there any chance of a special limited edition street car, like the Mazda Joest MX-5 with a crazy engine?

JOHN DOONAN: I appreciate the question. I can't speak for the product, guys, but I would vote yes. You would have my vote on that.

I think the one interesting storyline here, which is really special, is our design team, as much as they played a role in the KODO design language that you see in the RT24-P, they started a project some months ago to use the cockpit of the RT24-P at a laboratory to design future road car cockpits.

When it comes to driver integration, which is really big for us, we call it Jinba Ittai, in the overall driving experience is critical: ergonomics, seating position, fit, finish and feel of the interior.

So we're very excited to work with Julian, Jack, Ken, Greg, the entire team out in Irvine, in the MNAO design center, as well as our design center in Japan, to do that type of development using this program as a platform or a laboratory. That's really the tie for us when it comes to developing that next generation Mazda that's satisfying to drive.

So while I cannot speak for a hopped-up MX-5 roadster or the new Mazda6, I can speak to the fact that we have direct links with our product team and design team on what this program can do to help elevate the brand.

Q. Ralf, what will you be able to learn by testing the cars in Europe instead of focusing on a U.S.-only test plan?

RALF JÜTTNER: I didn't say that we are only testing in Europe. We will start testing here. It's just a logistical thing, as well, for us. We have to do a lot of work on the car, on our equipment, and we need that car here to prepare for 2018.

We will, for sure, then go over and go testing in the America, as well, as we know that the circuits are different and the demands are a little bit different. But still I'm 100% sure that there is enough we can learn by doing a few tests over here. But we will later go to America on the more relevant types of tracks.

Q. Ralf, can you talk about the intent to have a U.S. team headquarters, where that will be, what that will involve?

RALF JÜTTNER: Yes. We did have a U.S. headquarters in the past when we were racing here in the early 2000 years with Audi. That has been in Atlanta, close to Atlanta, in between the city and the racetrack Road Atlanta actually. From that tradition, we will look again into the same area because we liked it quite a lot over there.

It looks like we have found something. Yes, we will build up a new base over there, which will be our home over there in the season in America.

Q. John, can you comment on the length of the current contract with Joest?

JOHN DOONAN: I unfortunately can't speak to the business terms of the agreement. Obviously under confidentiality for both organizations. But I can share that it is multi-year in nature, with the vision of continued success for both Team Joest and for the Mazda brand.

I joked with Ralf this morning that I don't have a Le Mans trophy to put behind me or an American Le Mans Series championship trophy to put behind me in my office. But he said, Let's go earn some trophies together.

We're going to try to do that over the next couple of years.

Q. Ralf, testing with the current lineup of drivers, is there a concern that you want to keep them onboard for 2018 or a concern that they would want to take what knowledge they learned elsewhere? How much of that is a concern when you're testing a number of drivers?

RALF JÜTTNER: I mean, yeah, that's the same story all over and over again. Mazda has their drivers which they have raced up to now in this season and in the past seasons. They have grown them through their own famous and very good system, which they are very proud about. That's rightly so.

We have not worked with any of these drivers up to now. I'm looking forward to do that finally. Of course, I watched carefully a lot of the last races, and tried to figure out.

I'm very open to start working with those guys, and that will happen, as we said, very soon, 30, 40 days. Yeah, the rest we will see. As John said, he hopes to have a final driver lineup by the end of the season. Whether there is a change or not, we can't tell yet.

It's not that we are coming with a whole wagon of drivers in our bag trying to bring those in. That's not the case. We respect that it's Mazda's responsibility to contract the drivers.

We will discuss together, as we have done in the past, because it is important, because the driver and the team relationship is a very important one. But I'm sure that we will find a good solution there.

Q. Ralf, what is the timeline to be open and ready at the Atlanta base? Do you have a timeline there that you have in mind?

RALF JÜTTNER: Yes, we do have a timeline. We are hoping that latest autumn in some stage we can move into that shop that we have at the minute looked out. There is a little bit of work to do still, but that's what we hope. So beginning of October, end of September is what we have in mind.

JADE GURSS: We'll say thank you again to everyone who participated. We're very excited about this. Thanks to John and Ralf. Any final thoughts?

RALF JÜTTNER: I just want to thank you all for joining into this news conference. I want to thank John again for opening the possibility for us to team together. Again, we are very, very proud to be part of this new partnership. We had a really good feeling that there were different opportunities after our relationship ended with Audi after 18 years.

I have to say after the initial discussions and meetings we had with John and his guys, Kyle, Jim, it just felt right. That's still the case. Things fell into place.

We have often experienced that if you have that right feeling, that's the way you have to go. This is what we did. I really hope that we can have a lot of success together and enjoy that partnership. Thank you again.

JOHN DOONAN: Thank you, Ralf, and also Mr. Joest, who I know is watching.

Any time partnerships come together in this industry, it doesn't happen by accident. As Ralf pointed out earlier, it takes people.

I would be remiss if I did not mention several people, both here in North America as well as in Japan. Certainly the immediate staff on our team, Jim Bowie, Jade Gurss, Kyle Kimball, that worked very, very short time trying to get all this put together.

Our colleagues in Irvine, several who are watching from the finance team, the legal team. Again, these things don't happen by accident. And the marketing team, as well as our executives led by our president and CEO, Masahiro Moro. All of our colleagues in Japan, both on the global sales and marketing team as well as finance and legal.

It's a team effort at Mazda. We're a small family. We're very proud to welcome Team Joest into that family and achieve absolutely the best we can for the Mazda brand.

Thanks again for joining us today. We look forward to seeing everybody at the racetrack very soon.

JADE GURSS: Thank you, John and Ralf. We'll will conclude the webcast at this time.

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/18/17 1:59 p.m.

So to summerize, They fired speedsource and hired Joest for their IMSA program. Interesting that they won;t even run their own factory car at their sponsored race track, Laguna Seca.

Aaron_King
Aaron_King PowerDork
7/18/17 2:36 p.m.

It is hard to argue for Speedsource, the Mazda prototypes have not done very well and if you want to up your game Joest is the place to go. Should make thing interesting next year.

The0retical
The0retical SuperDork
7/18/17 3:04 p.m.
Aaron_King wrote: It is hard to argue for Speedsource, the Mazda prototypes have not done very well and if you want to up your game Joest is the place to go. Should make thing interesting next year.

This is pretty big news for Mazda. Should be interesting to watch as they have the best looking DP in the history of the class.

racerdave600
racerdave600 SuperDork
7/18/17 3:37 p.m.
bmw88rider wrote: So to summerize, They fired speedsource and hired Joest for their IMSA program. Interesting that they won;t even run their own factory car at their sponsored race track, Laguna Seca.

Hard to argue against Joest. Their prototype experience alone is second to none. The Speedsource guys are good guys, but they do not bring this type of experience and results. It would be a shame if they left the Mazda brand however, as they've been running them for decades now.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/18/17 5:00 p.m.

SpeedSource did great when they had the GT cars, they never could get a handle on any of the prototypes. I'm so excited that Mazda picked uo Joest! Pleeeeeease go back to LeMans!!!

racerdave600
racerdave600 SuperDork
7/18/17 5:08 p.m.

In racing, it's the people that matter most, be it drivers, designers, engineers or crew. It all takes experience and talent. When you have all the right ingredients working in harmony, that's when you have success. It sounds so easy, it so is not. I feel for the Speedsource guys as I know how difficult that can be. On the flip side, in this type of racing, the Joest guys seem to have all of that. As long as Mazda can support their end, it probably is their best shot at wins. Having a good team however only goes so far, so let's hope Mazda gives them all the support they need. You only have to look at Honda in F1 to understand.

Mazda has long been one of my favorite brands since I bought my first Rx7, it would be great to see them back at the front.

conesare2seconds
conesare2seconds Dork
7/18/17 5:33 p.m.

Overall, very good news for IMSA. Should make for some very competitive prototype (in DPi at least) racing with the addition of Acura/Penske. It's very critical that IMSA figure out what to do with, for or about the other P cars at this point. If they want to continue to have privateers in prototype they're going to have to either split the P class or figure out how to make the other prototypes competitive with DPi. No one is going to pay what it takes to race cars with no chance of making a podium. Also wishing the best for Speed Source to land on their feet.

HapDL
HapDL New Reader
7/19/17 9:39 a.m.

Great news, hopefully it will add some interest to this series. It's been a terrible year, virtually no competition at all and boring racing. Nascar/Imsa needs a boot in the arse for allowing the Cadillac engine in, clearly it runs counter to the concept of a modern prototype car powered by a modern engine. Nothing like milking torque on the torque friendly North America circuits. But since when did Nascar mind GM winning all the time?

Trackmouse
Trackmouse SuperDork
7/19/17 3:22 p.m.

Holy crap people! TL:DR. Some one want sum up? I read that joest racing is taking over the mazda lemans team. (Hey- I got to watch their driver race around laguna seca this spring!)

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/19/17 3:29 p.m.

I wonder what the back story is that they dropped Speedsource mid season through. That is a pretty bold move with 3 races left to run. Usually a move like that is something that happens year end.

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
7/19/17 4:39 p.m.
HapDL wrote: Great news, hopefully it will add some interest to this series. It's been a terrible year, virtually no competition at all and boring racing. Nascar/Imsa needs a boot in the arse for allowing the Cadillac engine in, clearly it runs counter to the concept of a modern prototype car powered by a modern engine. Nothing like milking torque on the torque friendly North America circuits. But since when did Nascar mind GM winning all the time?

You know how I know you havn't watched at least the last two races?

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
7/20/17 10:32 a.m.

Next year will be very exciting. I was just listening to Marshall Pruett Podcast, about Penske and Joest, will bring a lot of talented mechanics and drivers.

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