Harry Tincknell admitted it was gutting to lose out on a podium finish and a potential victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, with problems in the #55 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P’s final pit stop costing them around two minutes.
The car Tincknell was sharing with Spencer Pigot and Jonathan Bomarito were around six seconds behind the eventual race winners from Tequila Patron ESM when the trouble happened, with a clutch problem that had affecting them throughout the race causing the battery to go flat, just when they least wanted it to.
Tincknell and his co-drivers had managed the problem throughout the race up to then, with their mechanics giving them a push as they got away, but that final stop was one too many for both the clutch and battery, and by the time they were able to resume the race, they had lost a lap to the leaders and were forced to settle for sixth place at the chequered flag.
“Usually we’d go into neutral and leave the engine running,” said Tincknell to Sportscar365. “But when we tried that, when you put the clutch into first [gear], it would immediately stall.
“So we were coming in, stopping in first, and then basically with the help of the Joest muscle pass, pushing the rear wing. I was just basically full on the clutch, full on the throttle and on the starter motor and it just sort of chugged into gear.
“I was hoping that would do it every time and it would just pull away. It was obviously gutting. I was trying to pump the pedal up and it just felt like days until being able to jump start it.”
One massive positive Tincknell could take away from the Sebring International Raceway was the competitiveness of the RT24-P, and he admitted many people would not have expected them to be in contention for a race win so early in the season.
“It was amazing to be in contention,” added Tincknell. “I don’t think many people would have expected us to have had this massive turnaround so quick.
“Multimatic has done an unbelievable job to overturn the car. Of course, a new team is going to take a little while. We took a lot of stick after Daytona but the boys just got their heads down.
“For me personally, I’m still learning. I hardly had any laps at the test. My first stint was when I was learning. To be in the car in the end fighting with the best of the best in prototypes was mega.
“I’ve said before the season started that I felt that this car that will definitely win races this year and we nearly won the second biggest of them all.”