Mazda Team Joest captured their first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen in a dominant fashion.
The John Doonan-led Mazda Team Joest made history Sunday by claiming their first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International.
Before this weekend, the only win that Mazda had ever claimed was the partial win with Dyson Racing back in 2011 when Mazda provided the powerplant for the Lola B09/86 chassis that won the 2011 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) championship
Mazda have been heavily involved in the various forms of IMSA for several years, but they had failed to claim a first place trophy. With the addition of Joest as a team partner, the organization had shown significant bursts of speed that were, however, so consistently marred by inconsistency. For one reason or another, an overall win had eluded the Japanese team.
All until now.
The weekend was all about Mazda when Oliver Jarvis qualified his #77 Mazda RT24-P on pole and set a new track record in the process, eclipsing the previous record held by Pipo Derani. The #77 Mazda, which was driven by Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Timo Bernhard, led for portions of the race and competed with the Penske Acuras throughout it.
But it was the #55 Mazda of Harry Tincknell, Jonathan Bomarito and Olivier Pla that earned the win that Mazda had been searching for desperately since IMSA merged with the ALMS in 2014. Tincknell drove the #55 Mazda across the finish line ahead of Jarvis in the #77 Mazda by just 0.353 seconds.
The 2019 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen marked the first time in Mazda history that the Japanese manufacturer scored an overall win with a Mazda factory car that sports a sleek Mazda-style chassis in addition to a seemingly reliable powerplant.
It speaks well for Mazda that their first win came at an endurance race (six hours), which checks the box off for speed and reliability at the same time. It also begins the justification of increased program spending, which began with the partnership with German endurance guru Reinhold Joest. Joest essentially redesigned the initial program, which was supported by Multimatic.
While the first win will be something to celebrate for a long time, this victory had many chances to happen in the past. Since 2014, Mazda have developed a history of grasping defeat from the jaws of victory. This has been proven true in 2019 with Mazda Team Joest taking pole for the 24 Hours of Daytona and then failing to maintain that lead due to mechanical issues with both of their cars.
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Mazda Team Joest still have a long way to go before that past history of lost victories is forgotten, and the only way to begin that process is by winning. They will get that chance when the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship travels to the similarly high-speed rollercoaster track of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Presented by Acura. This race is scheduled to kick off at 12:55 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 7, and it is set to be shown live on NBC Sports Network with radio coverage provided by IMSA Radio.