Friday’s bombshell news that Mazda will be leaving the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at years’ end — and will not be pursuing a LMDh program — may or may not have come as a shock to motorsports enthusiasts around the world.
After all, the Japanese manufacturer has been one of the mainstays of IMSA’s top prototype class since the merger of Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series in 2014.
While missing some races in between, it arguably took nearly six years and its third operational partner to turn Mazda’s flagship motorsports operation into a success, and it still wasn’t enough to save the program.
So where did it all go wrong?
Some would say it was troubled from the very beginning of its prototype involvement.