A familiar face to the Mazda family will return to the wheel of a Lola-based prototype this weekend, as Ben Devlin has been recruited to drive the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda Prototype entry in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The 31-year-old Englishman, who joins Tom Long and Sylvain Tremblay in the SKYACTIV-D-powered P2 car, will make his first top-level IMSA start in more than three years.
While Devlin’s last ALMS race start came at the wheel of Intersport Racing’s Lola-AER at the Petit Le Mans in 2010, he has enjoyed an ongoing relationship with the Japanese manufacturer, which included a two-year stint with the factory supported B-K Motorsports squad.
“I’ve had a great relationship with Mazda over the last seven years now,” Devlin told Sportscar365. “I’ve known that this project has been going on and trying to work out when the time is right to get back in.
“Hopefully I can bring some knowledge with the Lola and Mazda experience together to help bring the project forward.”
Out of Mazda’s six-driver roster, Devlin boasts the most experience with the chassis, having helped debut the Lola Coupe with B-K Motorsports in 2008, prior to making select starts in Dyson Racing’s Lola-Mazda the following year, which included a class win at the Petit Le Mans.
Devlin turned his first laps of the clean diesel-powered Prototype contender during last month’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Winter Test at Sebring and came away with positive reviews of the package.
“It just clicked,” he said. “It’s like being back at home again. We’ve got the right package and the engine is coming on strong and we hope to see some good results.
“We just need to get miles under our belts now so we can get more feedback and develop the cars. It was a step forward. We’re all excited about coming to the race this weekend and trying to see if we can move up the grid.”
While Mazda’s full-season driver lineup has already been confirmed, Devlin is hopeful to continue to play a part in the development of the new Prototype package as the season unfolds.
The No. 07 Mazda, meanwhile, will be driven by Tristan Nunez, Joel Miller and 2013 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Tristan Vautier this weekend.