Mazda Team Joest has announced its six-driver lineup for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship season, landing three new recruits ahead of the upcoming campaign.
A trio of third-place finishes in 2017 sees Mazda veteran duo Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez re-signed to spearhead Mazda’s 2018 championship assault, with third-year Mazda hard-charger Spencer Pigot joining the outfit for a further four races whilst competing full-time in the IndyCar Series with Ed Carpenter Racing.
Joining Bomarito and Nunez full-time are Le Mans winners Harry Tincknell and Oliver Jarvis, who replace the exiting Joel Miller and Tom Long in the second Mazda RT24-P competing in the Daytona Prototype international category.
Tincknell switches to Mazda Team Joest hot on the heels of claiming third in the World Endurance Championship GTE Pro category with Ford Team Chip Ganassi Team UK this year, and will still remain a part of the Ford lineup despite a full-time commitment to IMSA next season.
The European Le Mans Series champion and former Carlin Motorsport European Formula 3 competitor made his IMSA series debut with a strong fifth-place finish in the GT Le Mans category at the 2017 Daytona 24 Hours.
Jarvis meanwhile reunites with Joest Racing after a successful four-year stint at the heart of the team’s titanic World Endurance Championship LMP1 partnership with Audi between 2012 and 2016.
Following Joest Racing’s WEC departure at the end of 2016, Jarvis turned to Jackie Chan DC Racing, with whom he claimed second overall and first in the LMP2 class of this year’s Le Mans, alongside second in the overall LMP2 championship standings.
Mazda’s final acquisition sees 2017 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters champion Rene Rast sign to compete in four IMSA events after claiming a podium with VisitFlorida Racing in the DPi category of this year’s Daytona 24 hours.
Rast returns to Joest Racing having made two appearances during the team’s Audi partnership in the WEC, finishing seventh at the 2014 24 hours of Le Mans.
Mazda Motorsports’ director in North America John Doonan hopes the manufacturer’s tendency to retain drivers associated with Mazda throughout their career’s will boost the team’s chances of achieving success in the upcoming campaign.
“It’s a big part of our Mazda Prototype program to feature drivers that have come up through the Mazda ranks, whether that’s in sports cars like Tristan Nuñez, or the open-wheel side of things with Bomarito and Pigot. We’re thrilled that those superb young men are back with us again in 2018,” Doonan said.
“Working with Joest, we were also able to secure fast, winning drivers from their recent history, which makes Jarvis and Rast a good fit, as is Tincknell, who has been successful in both GT and Prototype cars.”