Oliver Jarvis says he would like assurances from Mazda regarding its commitment for the new-for-2023 LMDh category in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
Jarvis is part of Mazda’s DPi program, which has contested the top class of the premier American series since 2014. The Briton joined the team in 2018 and has since taken multiple podiums and a race win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2019.
With IMSA switching from the DPi formula to the joint LMDh ruleset, Jarvis says that he would like Nelson Cosgrove, Mazda’s North American motorsport boss, to say whether or not Mazda will commit to the new ruleset, which could make the Japanese brand make a return to Le Mans.
Mazda has not fielded a top-level prototype entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1992. Its 1991 win made it the only Japanese manufacturer to win the French endurance classic before Toyota’s three consecutive victories at the end of the LMP1 era.
Earlier on Tuesday, rival manufacturer Acura became the first DPi party to officially commit to the LMDh ruleset, announcing they would be joining the previously confirmed Audi and Porsche as the third LMDh manufacturer.
“Moving back to one car is unfortunate, but it’s a sign of what’s going on around the world,” Jarvis told Autosport. “Everyone has had to make cutbacks.
“I’m hoping it’s temporary and I would love to see Mazda return to two cars, but more importantly commit to the new [LMDh] regulations. That’s a discussion I’ll be having with Nelson within the next couple of months.
“With the announcements from Audi and Porsche, and more in the pipeline, it would be nice to be get an understanding of Mazda’s intentions sooner rather than later.”
Jarvis has not raced for overall victory since 2016, when he made the last of four starts as part of Audi’s LMP1 programme. He scored two podiums in 2012, 2013 and 2016 before the programme closed at the end of the year.
He would once again come within touching distance of overall victory one year later, when he was beaten only by a single Porsche 919 Hybrid while racing for Jackie Chan DC Racing in LMP2. He also raced for Risi Competizione in 2019 and with G-Drive by Algarve in 2020.
“I was very fortunate to be involved during the ‘golden era’ of LMP1, and at the time we didn’t realise it would be so short-lived,” Jarvis said. “They say motorsport goes in cycles, but I’m surprised how quickly it has rebounded, if I’m honest.
“You’ve already got three hypercars [Toyota, Peugeot and Glickenhaus], and the [Audi and Porsche] LMDh announcements, and I think there will be many more. I think we could be looking at eight manufacturers in 2023 at Le Mans. I’d love to be there again.”