One week after earning its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory in upstate New York, Mazda Team Joest became the first team to leave Watkins Glen International and find the top step of the podium at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in series history.
- Results: 2019 Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix
Bringing Mazda, Team Joest, AER and Multimatic together, the Japanese marque’s Daytona Prototype international program has now won overall with both of its Mazda RT24-P cars. Following the triumphant outing for full-time drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell plus Olivier Pla in the No. 55 last Sunday, Tristan Nunez and Oliver Jarvis made the only Canadian race on the calendar the site of the first win for the No. 77.
With a starting driver change moving the pole-winning Ligier Nissan DPi of CORE autosport to the back of the prototype pack for the start, Mazda pilot Bomarito shared the front row with Helio Castroneves and the No. 7 Acura ARX-05.
Seeming to benefit from more favorable tire degradation than the Acura DPis, Mazda’s starting drivers Bomarito and Nunez kept pace with the Team Penske-prepared Acuras following the green flag. Castroneves led the opening seven laps before Bomarito took control at the front in the No. 55 Mazda DPi on Lap 8.
Bomarito remained in the cockpit until Lap 65, at which point he handed the leading car to Tincknell. Bomarito’s British co-driver kept the car out front until its third pit lane visit on Lap 96. Tincknell joined Jarvis in darting to Mazda Team Joest’s pit boxes for service in anticipation of a full-course yellow moments after an LMP2 car stopped off course.
The installation of a fresh right-rear Michelin tire was incomplete when the No. 55 was dropped from its jacks. The jacks were reengaged to finalize the tire swap but the crew didn’t drop the car back onto the ground while it continued taking on fuel, losing the advantage of increased gravity when filling the tank. Critical time was lost — as was the lead when Jarvis slipped by when peeling out of the No. 77’s box.
Through multiple interruptions, including a lengthy red-flag period due to a spectacular crash for Victor Franzoni in Juncos Racing’s Cadillac DPi-V.R, the Mazda duo held position at the head of the field, eventually crossing the line separated by 1.699 seconds in first and second.
In the car at the finish, former Audi Sport Team Joest LMP1 pilot Jarvis captured is first WeatherTech Championship victory in his 18th start, pairing with Nunez who is halfway through his sixth season as a Mazda factory driver.
Restricted by the poor pit stop, Tincknell in the No. 55 kept Dane Cameron, Pipo Derani and Ricky Taylor as all three drivers attacked during the sprint to the checkered flag following the red. Cameron completed the podium for Acura and Penske in the combination’s No. 6 entry while Derani ensured Action Express Racing went home as the top Cadillac DPi entrant with its No. 31 car after a late mechanical failure for the No. 5.
Ricky Taylor in fifth was followed on the 125th and final lap by Renger van der Zande in the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac co-driven by his brother Jordan.
Colin Braun’s extreme speed in practice and qualifying didn’t convert into success in the race in CORE’s Nissan DPi, mainly due to a high-speed trip off the racetrack in the closing laps when battling for position with Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura. Braun miraculously slid back onto the racing surface and through traffic and continued on to finish seventh, 34 seconds back from the winning Mazda.
IMSA reported that Franzoni was awake, alert and transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
PR1 Mathiasen Matches Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio Success in LMP2
Dalton Kellett and Matthew McMurry cruised to the third consecutive LMP2 victory for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, completing just five fewer laps than the top seven DPi machines.
Featuring just two global-spec, Gibson-powered ORECA 07 cars, the racing in the LMP2 category was again far from enthralling as the PR1 Mathiasen duo won by 19 laps — one fewer than their margin of victory last time out at Watkins Glen in a race that lasted more than three times as long.
With the GT-only Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park next up for North America’s premier sports car racing championship, teams and drivers competing in the two prototype divisions look ahead to IMSA’s Road America visit on the weekend of Aug. 2–4 for their next race. The Lime Rock event is scheduled for July 19–20.