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Juttner: Mazda DPi Has “A Lot of Potential” That Can Be Unlocked

Joest Racing’s Ralf Juttner on Mazda DPi testing, car’s potential…

Photo: Audi

Joest Racing Managing Director Ralf Juttner says he sees “a lot of potential” that can be unlocked with the Mazda RT24-P package, as the legendary German organization is set to begin a dual-continent testing and development program with the car.

The ex-Audi LMP1 squad, which was announced Tuesday as Mazda’s new factory team, expects to begin testing next month in Europe with Mazda’s existing crop of factory drivers, ahead of a debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

According to Juttner, the team will work closely with Mazda’s chassis partner Multimatic during the development process, prior to the car’s final homologation, which is expected later this year.

“We want to bring all the experience we’ve gathered in endurance racing into this project,” Juttner said.

“Therefore, I expect a really, really close relationship with Multimatic on the development of the car and improvements. We’ll bring in whatever we have.

“We all know Multimatic does know how to build race cars; that’s not a question. But we’ll put all our input together and try to come up with the best we can.”

The SpeedSource-run team debuted Multimatic’s first wave of updates at at Watkins Glen last month, aimed to solve a number of engine cooling issues that plagued the turbocharged-powered Mazda in the opening rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

While Juttner admitted there’s still restrictions on what still can be done, as it’s not a complete re-homologation, he feels significant gains can still be made.

“It’s not that you have a clean sheet of paper and can start from scratch; that’s clear,” he said. “But I think there’s still a lot of potential that can be unlocked.

“The other thing is we need to work on reliability because that’s the first thing you have to have. In order to finish on top, that’s clear.

“We’re going together with Multimatic and the IMSA organization and the technical guys there to make sure we don’t leave anything out that we can put [our] hands on.”

The first revised Mazda DPi will be on the ground testing within the next 30-45 days, according to the German.

“The testing will be done with a car that already has some modifications in it,” Juttner said. “We expect more to come throughout the remainder of this year.

“Until then, we have a version that we see is the right one to start the 2018 season with.”

Mazda Motorsports Director John Doonan added that the main focus will be to have a competitive package that can consistently fight for wins and the championship.

“I’m definitely interested in our raceability and our ability to compete up front vs. reliability and durability,” Doonan said.

“With those things, I know Ralf and his team are so focused and have such focus on those elements of durability and reliability and being prepared to finish.

“I think my keen interest is going to be on how we’re going to be able to race this package against the best that’s out there.”

Juttner said the decision to begin testing in Europe was simply a case of logistics, with the majority of the team’s resources still in Germany.

A workshop in the Atlanta area, where Joest operated Audi’s factory American Le Mans Series program from 1999-2002, is being finalized and should be operational by late September or early October, he said.

“We have to do a lot of work on the car on our [own] equipment, so we need the car [to be] here to prepare for 2018,” Juttner said.

“We will for sure then go over and go testing in America as well, as we know the circuits and demands are different. I’m 100 percent sure there’s enough we can learn by doing a few tests over here.”

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

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. av

    July 18, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Oh yes, baby. Finally!!

  2. greg

    July 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Best looking racecar in the world! Now to make it fast.

  3. Kirk

    July 18, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    “A workshop in the Atlanta area, …should be operational by late September or early October” What better way to have a grand re-opening than to enter Petit LeMans in early October? As we all know, the best way to test a race car is to race it.

    • Guest

      July 18, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      There is precedent with Joest doing that with the R15-R18 too.

    • boredatwork

      July 18, 2017 at 8:08 pm

      They actually can’t run before Daytona next year due to the rules in place right now. If they were to run, it would lock in their development of the car at that level. I.E. If the car isn’t ready and they roll it out at the Petit Le Mans and it flops, they can’t mess with it during the off season to improve any reliability issues. Rest assured that those Mazdas are going to get the workout of their lives before being rolled out in 2018 though. Joest will wring every last ounce of performance out of that car, as well as the drivers. It will be a very different Mazda team that takes the grid at Daytona next year. I predict many many engines and chassis to die on the altar of pushing the car to the limit prior to the rollout next year.

      • bored should read more

        July 19, 2017 at 7:19 am

        Says who? IMSA has not stated exactly when the current ‘draft homologation’ will be locked in for the teams. I think most assume by the end of the season but that has not been set yet. They have run 3 different configurations since Daytona to update the car already this season. Nothing in the DPi areas has been locked in yet at all.

        They are not running the rest of the year because Joest expects it will take that much testing just to learn about and develop the car. And they are still based in Germany so shipping the cars back and forth is a non-starter for racing in IMSA events.

      • Doug

        July 19, 2017 at 8:19 am

        And their pit stops should be WAY better. Audi/Joest were legendary at LeMans and elsewhere in having awesome pit crews and strategists.

        Between Penske’s professionalism and speed, GM/Cadillac’s well oiled running machine and Audi/Joest…I’m hoping the racing is awesome.

        All that’s left to get most of the former ALMS 08 players back is for Michael Andretti to get back in the game, but he has said he wants to do a manufacturer deal and Penske snatched up Honda. Who is left?

        If Porsche bows out of the WEC they might be available for Andretti autosport.

        • Doug

          July 19, 2017 at 8:25 am

          ooops…I said Audi/Joest….

          I meant Joest/MAZDA!

  4. WBrowning

    July 18, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    With Joest’s help, Multimatic should get their chassis up to speed, then Ford can jump in with a restyled Ford powered version Multimatic chassis with a lot less teething issues. Loving it!

  5. Parker

    July 18, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Can Joest submit new bodywork? I know they need to use the Multimatic tub, but can they do a new nose, sides, engine cowling and wing?

    • Guest

      July 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      I’m not sure if they’ve homoligated the bodyworks yet, it would somewhat make sense though, Mazda body gives up on some aero.

  6. Tim

    July 18, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    It blows my mind that Mazdas long time team Speedsource was axed just like that.

    That being said, I wish it was next year already lol. Very, very solid efforts from Cadillac, Acura and now Mazda. A stronger presences from Nissan would be nice for ESM. They always do good.

    • Jenner

      July 19, 2017 at 12:59 am

      Speedsource may have made some errors on race day, but they did give all they had with the resources they were given over the years. To me, they were like Dale Coyne Racing going up against Penske, Ganassi, Newman-Haas teams of CART.

      Can you imagine the day they had today? You’re a mechanic showing up to the shop this morning, coffee and breakfast in hand. Bosses says for everyone to meet in the conference room. BOOM! You get the news you and the team are now unemployed. After an hour of “WTF” and questions back and forth, the meeting is over.

      As you walk thru the shop’s garage, you see a bunch of Germans loading your Mazda race cars into a big ass Team Joest hauler that probably still says Audi Team Joest on the side of it. OUCH!!!

      Good luck Speedsource, hope you guys and gals land on your feet somewhere soon.

      • JJ

        July 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm

        Pretty much except that Joest is getting an updated Multimatic tub.

  7. Richard Reeves

    July 18, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    The takeaway for me from this is that Joest has sided with IMSA rather than the WEC. You might say it was a matter of going where the opportunity was but…I think it has deeper import than that. Seems to me they surveyed the field and decided some time ago, IMSA has the brighter future. If Porsche indeed pulls out of P1 this month July 2017 could well go down as WEC’s worst nightmare come true.

    Also, Joest’s openness with fans in the ALMS may also have influenced their thinking. Jean Todt’s F1-like closed paddocks in the WEC runs counter to the we-must-connect-with-our-fans mentality cutting across all motorsports now, including F1 under its new American-run regime. I see Joest’s decision as a possible bell-weather for both series. Even those of us who have been huge WEC supporters have to say: Hats off to IMSA. You just may have won the day…

    • Sorc

      July 18, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      I don’t know if you’ve actually been to a WEC paddock but it’s as open as it gets. I was at Spa this year and was amazed at the access you get with just a normal entry ticket.

    • Matt

      July 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      The ACO mandate the entire garage must be visible, including the car, at all times. Pits are open when no racing is going on, it’s as public friendly as it could be without letting them walk in to the garages.

      • Tim

        July 18, 2017 at 10:02 pm

        And even sometimes if your there at the right time talking to the guys they will let you come in the garage and look around.

    • Helmut

      July 19, 2017 at 6:26 am

      I’d say it is much simpler. Assuming they wanted to work together with a manufacturer (anything else, e. g. a simple LMP2 race programme, would have been a huge regress), ideally with prototypes, then they had to take what they get. It’s not like there are endless options to choose.

      • thomas

        July 19, 2017 at 8:37 am

        i think you’re way closer to the mark

  8. Bjones

    July 19, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Wondering when this axe would fall, watched the speedsource guys and it was obvious they were in way over their head. Kinda confused over the lets blame Riley as Riley has a history of building some of the finest racecars as well as being reliable. It appears that Riley and Multimatic, very inexperience at Prototype racing and or building of, could not get their ducks marching in the right direction. I can tell you that the little AER will perform miracles but you do not starve the little guy for air at any time or it will sit down on you. As for Speedsource, I think they learned how complicated prototype racing is and how little they understood what they got themselves into, As for Doonan he tries and tries and will never give up, hats off to him. I do feel sorry for the employees at Speedsource and I hope they get into something,sure they will.

    • The Riley LMP2 IS a dog

      July 19, 2017 at 7:23 am

      Really? Some of the finest racecars?? Since when, their DP was possibly the ugliest thing on track and their older LMPs weren’t setting the world on fire. Now their LMP2 car is rumored to be WELL over minimum weight and the aero package doesn’t have much range.

      Mazda is stuck with the Riley chassis as that’s how they registered the DPi, and they love the MZR-R engine family so that’s not likely to change much. The only thing left was to change the team and hire some of the best race chassis and privateer TEAM fixers in the business.

      • B.jones

        July 19, 2017 at 11:22 am

        I agree the Riley/Multimatic is a dog, but will stand by many fine Riley cars that have won, Sebring,Daytona, many other tracks as well as multiple championships across the globe, have you ever heard of the Coyote, the R @ S (Multiple versions) (not to Mention GT Cars)yes fine cars and can back that up with many stats and reputable people who owned,worked, and has driven these cars. I will end with the Multimatic. Riley is a dog, but to blame all of this on Riley is wrong, So how many cars has Multimatic designed and built? Do your home work before you type. Now my blood pressure is up I’ll help you: A,J Foyt, Rob Dyson,Wayne Taylor,Intersport, BMW Motorsports,Various teams seem to agree with me about Riley and Scott Cars, I much far do you want to go with this, Sports car 365 does not give enough space to keep going, I am done.

      • Andy Flinn

        July 19, 2017 at 1:32 pm

        The Grand-Am DP was the most successful prototype in Riley’s history. In turn, the Riley was the most successful DP in Grand-Am history. The Riley was more popular and successful than any other constructor – including Multimatic and Dallara. You focus on the Riley DP’s looks because you can’t handle the facts. By the way, Riley prototype chassis have scored podium finishes in IMSA three times this year. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good, misinformed rant.

        • Jeff Wagner

          July 23, 2017 at 4:46 am

          You’re the only zealot left that even cares who was what and what was this in the “Poser Prototypes”, they were all sold off for scrap medal! BA HAAAAAAA

    • Luna

      July 19, 2017 at 11:36 am

      At Speedsource they had their chances for many years and never delivered.
      Sorry for the employees but not forTramblay.

  9. Bjones

    July 19, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Euro pits and or combo paddocks are not fan friendly as in the U.S. Once the race starts or during any hot track time you can not see the car or get near the crew. Nascar has the same attitude as they block fans from certain areas,unless you have a pass, but it is possible to get close up and personal. ACO has been putting the heat on the teams about being an ass able blocking everything as you can see the hefty fines and well they seem to be using the old trick of we will park you for six minutes at the start of the race if you don’t quit attitude.
    Back to the pits, Sebring is built to European standards and design with one exception, the rear is open so fans can watch the teams during the action,thanks to heavy fan favorite Don Panoz, COTA has copied the Euro Style of pits , but appears to have the F1 attitude with the rear blocked. As we all know American race fans has a funny way of letting the powers to be know how they feel, they won’t come!
    If you don’t understand my thoughts, look at Lemans pit structure, look at Sebring, and then look at everyone else. Not to mention Sebring has History of its Paddock and its fans being one. Don’t listen to me just ask its fans and the teams.

    • thomas

      July 19, 2017 at 8:39 am

      if you think that has anything to do with Joest’s decision I’ve got the Statue of Liberty for sale.

      • He's goin' TURBO!

        July 19, 2017 at 10:13 am

        Man, I just used my last cent buying a great bridge. It’s near the statue actually.

        Trade?

    • Jenner

      July 19, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      I’ve been to COTA for the WEC race. I had great access with my general admission ticket. You can walk thru the back pits and stroll right up to the back of the garages. Had a good visit with Mr. Bergmeister one day while he was refilling his drink bottles.

      And during the morning pit walk, you’re right in it. As a matter of fact, when one of the P2 teams was practicing their pit stop, the air hose whip up and almost smacked us in the face. Got it on video too. It was awesome.

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