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Jarvis Linked to Mazda Team Joest Drive

Oliver Jarvis linked to Mazda Team Joest DPi effort…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Mazda Team Joest’s Prototype effort is set to feature a mix of new and existing drivers to the Mazda family, with at least one Audi LMP1 alumni poised for a full-season seat in the team’s two-car Mazda RT24-P DPi entry next year.

Multiple sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that Oliver Jarvis is likely to rejoin the German squad in its recently announced IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship effort, alongside at least two of Mazda’s current drivers in the new-look program.

Jarvis, who took class honors in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, currently leads the LMP2 World Championship with three races to go with Jackie Chan DC Racing, while also having competed in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with Bentley Team M-Sport.

The 33-year-old Englishman could be joined by former Audi teammate Rene Rast, who along with Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez, tested the Mazda DPi last week at Hockenheim, in the first test run by Joest.

Rast is understood to be in line for a Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup-only campaign, due to his DTM commitments, with both Bomarito and Nunez poised to return for a full-season attack.

The identity of Mazda’s fourth full-time driver is unclear at this point and could go to either Joel Miller or Tom Long, who drove for the SpeedSource team in recent years.

Mazda Motorsports Director John Doonan confirmed they’ve been in talks with Jarvis, and multiple other drivers, although contracts have yet to be finalized for 2018.

“We’re looking at all options for drivers, both full-time and long-distance guys,” Doonan told Sportscar365

“I’d love to [confirm drivers] as soon as possible just to be respectful of everybody in their timing and careers, as well as their current contracts they have with other manufacturers.

“We’d like to do it before Petit Le Mans but I don’t know if we could get all the paperwork done.”

Doonan: “Flawless Day” of Testing

Doonan said he was extremely pleased with the first day on the job with Joest during the single-day test at Hockenheim last week, which saw a full day’s running without any issues. 

“For sure it was a flawless day,” he said. “It was an opportunity for the team to work with the RT24-P for the first time.

“In terms of time on track, we maximized every hour that we could, we almost ran six hours total during the day.

“We had several of our current drivers cycled through the car and had an opportunity to work with Rene as well, as a benchmark for someone who knows that circuit and that type of thing.

“For a first test, I think everyone walked away with smiles knowing there’s a lot of work to do.”

Although nothing is confirmed, Doonan said they may do additional testing in Europe, prior to moving the development program Stateside next month in the buildup to January’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona. 

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Anon

    September 26, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Mazda should run one car with their drivers, one car with top drivers.

    • David Chaste

      September 26, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Their drivers are tops. Bomarito, Miller, Long and nunez can match anyone in the world. Their 3rd drivers Pigot and Hinch prove the caliber of drivers in Mazda’s araenal. Other drivers are just better known for having been in Audi machinery.

      But Joest would want drivers they know that also know how they work.

  2. Johannes275

    September 26, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    C’mon Olly, you can get it!

  3. Ka

    September 26, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    May not be a popular sentiment, but Jarvis was usually the least impressive Audi LMP1 driver (and I’m including the 3 guys who only got to drive a couple races before the dieselgate cutbacks), didn’t do much in DTM, SuperGT, or FIA GT before that either.

  4. Doug P

    September 26, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    While poor Andre Lotterer goes off to do treaded tire Selectric racing, so sad and unfair.

    • David Chaste

      September 26, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Dont cry for Lotterer he carves his own destiny. They would give him this in a heartbeat if they could afford him. He decided to go where he will get his bacon by the bus load.

      With names like Jani and Lotterer there you know Formula e teams have upped the ante on pay.

  5. Passenger

    September 26, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Why Mazda doesnt have any Japanese driver ?

    • Crossmai'n

      September 26, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      I dunno that actually. They did have Keiko Ihara for Sebring last year, but I guess there is no japanese driver available for Mazda? Theere are alot of Japanese drivers affiliated with other brands (Honda, Nissan,Toyota,Subaru, etc.)

      • Psychlops924

        September 26, 2017 at 11:49 pm

        To my knowledge, Mazda doesn’t have any type of works team in Japan. They don’t run Super GT, Super Formula or Super Taikyu, so I don’t know where they would recruit drivers for a factory program.
        I do find it odd that their only factory team is in IMSA, and that their only other ‘major’ motorsport investment is the Mazda Road to Indy. Maybe they feel Japan is too crowded with Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Subaru. The US is just a better place for their motorsport brand I guess.

        • Slicks in the wet

          September 27, 2017 at 2:05 am

          As noted below, this isn’t even really a Mazda factory program.

          It’s Mazda USA who begs for the freedom to race under Mazda brand from Mazda Japan.

        • Crossmai'n

          September 27, 2017 at 2:49 pm

          Can we count the Mazda Road to Indy (MRTI) a pseudo-factory effort? I mean they do have the drivers who did well in the lower catagories racing the Mazda IMSA efforts.

    • 624endurance

      September 27, 2017 at 1:10 am

      It’s Mazda USA not Mazda Japan.

    • David Chaste

      September 27, 2017 at 8:09 am

      Mazda only hires drivers from the road to Indy ladder. Most Japanese drivers there are usually Honda affiliated.

      Mazda USa is bigger than the whole of Mazda outside of the U.S, so they don’t bother much with motorsports outside the US. Their U.S operations feeds the whole corporation so they let the U.S operations run themselves as best and independently as they could to keep cranking the dollars.

  6. Kurt

    September 27, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Interesting choice given the constant touting of the Mazda Road to 24 driver program. The car was pretty quick at Watkins Glen and Mosport with the current lineups, Bomarito/Nunez/Pigot in one car is a solid choice.

  7. Carefull with that Eugene, Axe.

    September 27, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Joest has many many top class drivers in their phone list and i will be really surprised if they keep more than one if their current works dudes.

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