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.