Mazda, Joest partnership nearing its end

Image by Levitt/LAT

Mazda, Joest partnership nearing its end

IMSA

Mazda, Joest partnership nearing its end

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The partnership between Joest Racing and Mazda Motorsports is expected to reach its official conclusion in the days ahead.

As RACER wrote last year, Mazda is believed to have notified the German team of its intent to discontinue the relationship as Mazda Team Joest in September, which triggered a six-month winding down process set to be completed immediately following the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

With the postponement of Sebring until November due to the COVID-19 virus, confirmation of the formal split and full transfer of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi program to Multimatic is imminent.

Launched in 2017 with longtime service provider SpeedSource in charge of developing the Mazda RT24-P DPis built by Multimatic, the project suffered through significant reliability- and performance-related shortcomings that led to its season being cut short to address the issues.

In the wake of Audi’s exit from the FIA World Endurance Championship at the end of the 2016 season, Mazda was able to sign coveted free agent Joest Racing to replace SpeedSource. Multimatic was also engaged to a higher degree, with redeveloping the car’s mechanical and aerodynamic packages listed as key priorities.

Upon the debut of Mazda Team Joest in 2018, more speed was on tap with the RT24-Ps, but a variety of mistakes and failures kept the two-car outfit from earning wins or reaching its potential. Mazda took another step towards Multimatic in 2019, when the Canadian firm inserted race engineers, additional mechanical staff within the Joest group, and took command of the overall performance responsibilities for the cars.

By summer, the team scored its first win, capturing the Sahlen’s 6 Hours At The Glen, and added two more at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America. Mazda Team Joest rose to its highest place in the DPi championship, taking fifth in the Drivers’ standing with Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez, and third among the four auto brands in the Manufacturers’ battle.

The team opened the 2020 season with its most competitive showing to date at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, where it earned Mazda’s second consecutive pole position and placed second and sixth overall.

With the extended pause ahead due to the coronavirus, the changeover from Joest to Multimatic should go forward with few hiccups due to the open calendar facing most racing series.

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