Mazda will close down its prototype programme in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship at the end of 2021, ending its DPi involvement and also not committing to the LMDh ruleset.
In a statement, Mazda says that it reached the decision ‘after an internal assessment of the current DPi series and the future LMDh series, and concludes Mazda’s participation in prototype racing.
It had already downgraded its DPi program to a single car for the 2021 campaign, with Oliver Jarvis and Harry Tincknell forming the full-season entry for the lone Mazda RT24-P.
The announcement comes just a few weeks after Acura, one of Mazda’s DPi rivals, did announce an LMDh programme for 2023. The decision leaves Acura and Cadillac as the only two remaining manufacturers for DPi’s final season of competition in 2022.
“Mazda has a long history in racing and recently added several DPi victories and podium finishes during the 2020 season. This is a tribute to our ‘never stop challenging’ spirit,” chairman and CEO of Mazda North American Operations Masahiro Moro said. “We’re especially proud of our victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring, podium finishes at Daytona’s Rolex 24 in both 2020 and 2021, and record-setting laps at Daytona in 2019 and 2020.
“These are significant accomplishments in the history of Mazda Motorsports. We thank our drivers, team, partners, and our fans for their years of support, and look forward to a strong 2021 season.”
Mazda will instead focus its motorsports efforts on grassroots racing and the MX-5 Cup, which joined the IMSA support bill in 2021.
Present since the start
The Japanese manufacturer has been present in the IMSA’s top category since the championship’s inception in 2014 and has been a steady presence in DPi for the past five years.
After several years of coming close to victories, the team finally won its first race at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen in June of 2019. Two more victories followed that year at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America, with a third win added at the WeatherTech 240 at Daytona in 2020.
Its biggest victory came at the season finale in 2020, the rescheduled Twelve Hours of Sebring, when Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell and Ryan Hunter-Reay took the overall win in a classic race.
In both 2019 and 2020, Mazda took pole position for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in record-setting efforts by Oliver Jarvis. The 2020 race resulted in a second place finish for the team, while it came back from mechanical issues to score a hard-fought third place in this year’s Florida endurance classic.