The Mazda RT24-Ps demonstrated a major leap forward in competitiveness at Daytona International Speedway, but unfortunately both cars retired before the finish of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first round of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The heavily revised Mazda RT24-P’s showed increased speed throughout the week at Daytona. Rene Rast led the first practice in the No. 77 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda RT24-P that he shared with Tristan Nunez and Oliver Jarvis, while Jonathan Bomarito qualified in ninth position in the Prototype class in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P that he shared with Harry Tincknell and Spencer Pigot. Underlining the progress made by Mazda Team Joest, Bomarito’s qualifying time was 3.3-seconds faster than the best qualifying time of the RT24-P in 2017.
“If you roll the clock back, qualifying last year at a 1:39.9 and this year at a 1:36.6 – it’s monumental,” said John Doonan, Director of Motorsports for Mazda North American Operations. “And kicking off the week by being quickest in the first practice was a huge uplift to the guys. It was only practice, but we made a statement – we are here, we are serious – it was a big deal. And we entered the race knowing that we could run with the other Prototypes, so those were all positive. Clearly, there were some challenges, but I want to walk out of here and take all the positives, and the things that were challenging, and take that momentum to solve the problems so we can show up at Sebring and be more competitive.”