The last time most in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock saw the pair of Mazda RT24-P Daytona Prototype international (DPi) racecars was at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July, and a lot has happened since then.
Today, the pair of revised Mazda DPis were on track alongside 16 other WeatherTech Championship racecars on the first day of a two-day IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona International Speedway. It was the first “public” appearance for the cars, Mazda Team Joest and some of the team’s drivers – including 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona GT winner and 2013 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring overall winner Oliver Jarvis.
Jarvis was introduced last week as one of the four full-time drivers for the team in 2018, joining Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez and Harry Tincknell. And for his part, he’s thrilled to be in the WeatherTech Championship.
“It’s a dream for me to be here full time,” Jarvis said. “I’ve always wanted to come over to the States and run here. When I got the call from [Mazda Director of Motorsports] John [Doonan], it was a very easy decision to make. I wanted to be here, I wanted to be a part of the Mazda team. IMSA has gone from strength to strength with so many DPi cars. It’s probably the strongest field I’ve ever seen, but with the team we’ve got, I think we’ve got a great chance.”
Mazda Team Joest did test at Daytona last month, but this was Jarvis’ first day back at Daytona in a few years. He joined the team for a recent test at Sebring International Raceway, though, and likes what he has seen thus far.
“The car is still very new, we’re still learning every time we go out, but so far everything is positive,” Jarvis said. “The car has run well and I’m very happy with the balance. It’s the second test for me with the team, I drove at Sebring and then here at Daytona.
“It’s very hard to compare because it’s completely different tires between the two tracks, but I have to say this test has already been a big step up from Sebring. The team has had time for a little more preparation and we’ve hit the ground running.”