The opening lap of Saturday afternoon’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach saw both Soul Red Crystal Mazda RT24-Ps march forward through the Daytona Prototype field, as Tristan Nunez went from fifth to third in the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P while Jonathan Bomarito, in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P, went from 11th to sixth.
Bomarito had been relegated to the rear of the field, after damage sustained during Friday’s qualifying session forced the team to replace the tub of the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P before Saturday’s 100-minute race. Nunez, who had originally qualified in sixth position, was moved to fifth as a result.
After storming through the field in the opening lap, Bomarito was slowed again by an incident in turn eight of the Long Beach circuit which saw the car spin and make minor contact with the wall. Bomarito and teammate Harry Tincknell finished the race in eighth position. Nunez, who a few laps later advanced to second position, turned the car over to Jarvis during a full course caution. Jarvis led the race until his final pitstop, when he emerged in fourth position, the spot he held to the checkered flag.
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship will be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on May 3-5.
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports
“I’m really proud of the effort that our team put in this weekend. The crew from the No. 55 car put in a huge effort to have the car make the grid, and the starts by Jonathan (Bomarito) and Tristan (Nunez) were just amazing. To make up that many positions at one time on a street circuit is, frankly, miraculous. Thanks to Tristan’s amazing start, it put us in a position to win with the No. 77, but it didn’t quite work out for us the way that the fuel windows fell and the lack of any full course yellows in the final hour. Despite the challenges this weekend, we were proud to represent Mazda at our home race in front of our employees and fans, and we look forward to the next race.”
No. 55 Mazda RT24-P
“It was a pretty tough day for us in Long Beach. The crew deserves a lot of credit for having the car prepared for today, and it was working really well at the start of the race as I was able to pick up a few spots. But, I ended up in a situation where there were three cars were going for the same space on the track, and I tried to minimize the chance for contact but I ended up spinning. It’s unfortunate because the car was obviously fast, and Harry had good pace as well during his time in the car. We’ll put this one behind us and go for the victory again at Mid-Ohio.”