The Mazda Motorsports P2 team will concentrate on a single entry this weekend on the streets of Detroit for IMSA’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event. The two-car diesel-powered Prototype team will drop the No. 70 entry for the event and use it for a new round of private testing and development.
“A large part of this program is to learn, refine and develop SKYACTIV technologies, said Mazda Motorsports director John Doonan. “The development of the diesel engine has been a steep climb upward, especially with peak horsepower and fuel efficiency that has allowed the team to lead two of the four races thus far.
“But, we believe we are best served by continuing development and simulation work with one car at the SpeedSource shops rather than both cars being at the track this week. This does not reflect any changes to the long-term commitments and goals of the Mazda program.”
With drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez focused on testing, Joel Miller and Tom Long will represent the brand on the 2.3-mile Belle Isle course in the No. 07 entry.
“I like racing at Belle Isle,” said Long. “First of all, you have the ‘island atmosphere,’ racing along next to the river and seeing the Detroit skyline. A street circuit is always a challenge, and this one has a good variety of corners. Our Mazda performs well in the high-speed, flowing corners at the start of the lap, which are a big contrast to other sections, like Turns 8 through 11, that are tight, first-gear corners.
“Street circuits offer no margin for error with walls on both sides of the track. The lapped traffic here can be tough as there are segments were there’s only a single lane, but you have to be patient, as the consequences are severe if you make even a small mistake. It does really go back to one of the most fundamental rules of driving a race car: look where you want to go. So, I’ll not be looking at any of those walls!”
RACER has confirmed the No. 70 will return after Detroit, and possibly in time for the next round at Watkins Glen on June 27.