Harry Tincknell is set to miss the Mid-Ohio round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year due to its clash with the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The newly signed Mazda DPi driver will give priority to his existing contract with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing in the WEC, with the 2017/18 season-opener at Spa-Francorchamps occurring on the same weekend on May 4-6.
It is the only conflict between the WeatherTech Championship and WEC for Prototype class teams next year.
“That was one of the sticking points to start with, but with the Multimatic link, being a Multimatic driver with Ford first, that will be the priority that weekend,” Tincknell told Sportscar365.
“Every other round doesn’t clash, just the one clash, so I’ll still be at the other nine and doing my best to support the championship efforts of whichever car I end up in.”
Tincknell enters his third season in the WEC with the Multimatic-run Ford Chip Ganassi Racing squad, having narrowly missed out on the GTE-Pro title with co-driver Andy Priaulx this year.
Mazda Motorsports Director John Doonan said a decision on Tincknell’s replacement for Mid-Ohio has not yet been made, although Spencer Pigot, who is part of the team’s endurance lineup, appears to be the prime candidate.
“We haven’t made anything public yet, but thanks to Ford for lending him to us,” Doonan said. “It’s a big kudos to them and obviously that’s the Multimatic connection that got that started, but he is on loan to us from Ford.
“That’s his primary program, and the same goes for Rene [Rast, in DTM], so we’ll see how it shakes out but he won’t be able to do Mid-Ohio.”
Doonan said they’ve yet to confirm the exact driver pairings for the season, although Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito are in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P and Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Rene Rast listed in the No. 70 car at this week’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona.
“We’re trying to put the right chemistry together and the right size together, but the goal was to put a driver lineup together where with two hours to go in the 24 hour race, anybody can close the deal,” he said.
“Candidly the guys have not known each other [for] long but they’re acting like they’ve known each other for a long time.”
Jarvis: Mazda Program Takes Priority
Fellow Mazda newcomer Jarvis, meanwhile, has given his IMSA program priority and will contest all ten races for Mazda Team Joest.
The ex-Audi LMP1 ace undertook a dual-season campaign this year in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with Bentley Team M-Spprt, as well as the WEC with Jackie Chan DC Racing, highlighted by LMP2 class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“[IMSA] is my primary program,” Jarvis told Sportscar365. “Whether I’ll add bits and pieces as well, we’ll have to see. But I’m a Mazda driver next year.
“There’s a clash with Paul Ricard Blancpain GT. It’s difficult to really comment on it at this stage.
“I’ve been racing in Europe for so long that it’s always difficult to step away. Unfortunately with the IMSA calendar clashing with Blancpain GT and also WEC, it was a decision I had to take.
“Looking at the way the championship is going and looking at the project, in the end, it was a simple choice.”
Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report