Until the final pit stop of the 66th Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P driven by Jonathan Bomarito, Spencer Pigot and Harry Tincknell was closing in on a potential victory at the famed circuit.
After leading the race for 58 laps and contending for victory throughout the day, the car encountered an electric issue that prevented it from quickly starting at the final pit stop. Once it did start, the car finished the race in sixth position. The pair of Mazdas had shown winning potential earlier in the race when they ran first and second in the second hour of the race.
“To be in fourth position on the restart with 40 minutes to go at Sebring is what you train and live for, so it was amazing to be in contention,” said Tincknell. “Mazda Team Joest has done an unbelievable job to turn the car around and I can’t thank them enough to be in the car at the end of the race fighting with the best of the best in Prototype. Even before the start of the season I thought the Mazda RT24-P could definitely win races this year, and we nearly won this one. We are a bit dissapointed at the moment, but there are massive positives to look forward to the rest of the year.”
After the No. 77 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda RT24-P was slowed in the fourth hour with a braking issue, the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P would contend for the victory throughout the rest of the race.
Olivier Jarvis set the fastest lap of the race and track record for IMSA’s Prototype class in the 77 with a time of 1m49.002s around the 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway circuit. The car, which he shared with Rene Rast and Tristan Nunez, finished the race in eighth position.
“It was an incredible day for Mazda Team Joest,” said Mazda Motorsports director John Doonan. “If someone had told me we were going to be competitive, lead as many laps as we did, set a new track record and jump everybody on pit stops and fuel range I don’t think I would have believed them. I’m very proud of how the team and all of our technical partners performed today – it was a big step forward from Daytona.
“We dealt with a lot of adversity today, but I couldn’t be more proud of the way our drivers drove and the way the guys over the wall performed. It stings a bit to have a potential win snatched away from us right at the end, but we definitely made everybody stand up and take notice.”
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13-14.