One of the last vestiges of IMSA’s GTP series fell on Thursday when Oliver Jarvis broke the 26-year-old Daytona lap record held by All American Racer’s P.J. Jones. Wielding the legendary Eagle MKIII-Toyota GTP (pictured), Jones turned a lap of 1m33.875s in 1993, and by the end of qualifying for this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jarvis stopped the clock at a 1m33.685s in his Mazda RT24-P to establish a new lap record standard.
Keeping track at home in California, Jones wasn’t exactly pleased to learn the baton was passed to a new team, but accepted it sportingly.
“You never want to see your lap record beat, especially when you can’t go defend it, but I held it for 26 years and never thought it would last that long; we were living on borrowed time,” he told RACER. “We no longer have it at Daytona, but we still have it for Lime Rock. Mazda did a great job, the car’s good, and they have very good drivers. Hat’s off to them for being able to do it. Pretty neat that there’s a lot of excitement about this lap record changing hands, and I love hearing all of the respect being given to Dan Gurney and All American Racers for what we did a long time ago.”
Jones was impressed by Mazda’s understanding for what the Mazda Team Joest program achieved.
“To be appreciated by them, that shows the respect Mazda has for the sport,” he said. “They have to feel honored to break that lap record, and to know they also honor Dan Gurney and teach their drivers about IMSA’s history is very important.”
Asked if he’d like to turn a few laps at Daytona in a Mazda RT24-P to try and reclaim his lap record, Jones posed one in return: “Should I get on the flight tonight?”