Mazda Team Joest has kept the angry little four-cylinder turbos alight during an intensive testing regimen in Florida with its RT24-P DPis.
The Multimatic-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship prototypes have sprinted back and forth between Daytona International Speedway and Sebring International Raceway in recent weeks, often leaving one facility as its rivals at Acura Team Penske are loading in or packing up.
Although no official lap times have been posted, rumors of speeds at or below the pole positions set at both circuits in 2017 would suggest the program is making the kind of strides it sought after splitting with its former partners at SpeedSource and taking the remainder of the year off to redevelop the RT24-P platform.
“Mr. Joest and I had a chance to be together a few weeks ago in Germany and from what we’ve seen in testing, with the entire effort Multimatic has put forth with aero, suspension, and cooling optimization updates to the RT24-Ps, we’re pleased with all of the work and processes we’ve seen,” Mazda motorsports director John Doonan told RACER.
“We’ve had drivers giving direct back-to-back comparison of what we had before to what we have now, the car has been completely transformed. We’re encouraged we’ll be able to fight at the front and vie for wins and championships. This is exactly what we’ve been planning to do.”
Addressing the RT24-P’s speed deficits is only part of the overhaul being conducted by Mazda’s partners. The search for greater reliability through on-track testing and off-track durability runs has also been part of the Mazda Team Joest reboot.
“We met first with Multimatic about what was needed, and there were some areas that had options for improvement, and one was improving the overall environment the RT24-P’s engines live in,” Doonan explained. “They did a massive amount of studies and had a lot of input from AER on improving the climate for the engine, and that will help, and AER has done long runs on the dyno to complete Daytona, complete Sebring, and give us the best chance of finishing where we want to be.”
The revamped RT24-P program, with the Nos. 55 and 70 entries, will have its driver roster confirmed and other key aspects of the Joest-led effort revealed between the holidays.
“We take what we do in motorsports to tell our story to the broadest audience possible,” Doonan said. “And we’ll be making an announcement that won’t be ready for the Thanksgiving table, but will be here before Santa arrives.”
Last year, the RT24-P project was launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show.