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Doonan: Mazda Playing BoP System to “Letter of the Law”

Mazda’s John Doonan on IMSA’s Balance of Performance process, recent success…

Photo: Peter Burke/IMSA

Mazda Motorsports director John Doonan says the manufacturer is playing IMSA’s Balance of Performance system to the “letter of the law” in the wake of a recent breakout in performance from the team’s Mazda RT24-Ps. 

Mazda Team Joest has claimed victories in the last three IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi races, in what’s marked a significant turnaround in fortunes for the team.

Dominant wins at Watkins Glen and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park led to a sizable BoP adjustment prior to the Road America round, which resulted in a 20 kg increase in minimum weight and a nearly 20-horsepower reduction for the Multiimatic-built prototypes.

The No. 55 Mazda of Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito, however, was able to overcome those hurdles to take the team’s third straight win last time out at Road America.

Doonan indicated that IMSA’s new-for-2019 BoP process, which was developed in conjunction with the manufacturers, has seen the potential for some cars to hide their true potential and impact the adjustments.

“IMSA has worked tirelessly on a process,” he told Sportscar365 at Road America. “We have committed ourselves to that process, all of us.

“Mazda has committed to always running to our potential. I don’t care if that’s practice, qualifying, warmup, the race.

“The system is expecting that everyone will do the same.

“Unfortunately, over time, it doesn’t matter which class it is, not just Prototype, people always haven’t done that.

“Because of that, you can gain an advantage for yourself if you don’t show your true potential. You can hang others out to dry that have shown their true potential.”

While not specifically naming manufacturers, Doonan has suggested for the “silly games” to end. 

“People have been on the receiving end of getting hung out to dry and people have been on the receiving end in [getting] help in BoP when they technically didn’t necessarily deserve it,” he said.

“None of us in sports car racing have enough time; the season is relatively short to play silly games. That’s why everywhere we’ve run, we’ve shown everything.

“We, collectively, the community, have to continue to do everything we can to put a terrific set of races on the track, on TV, that people can enjoy and cheer for their favorite knowing that everybody out there has absolutely the most equal chance.”

Doonan, however, has stressed that he believes in the system, which has seen three of the four DPi manufacturers visit victory lane so far this season.

“It’s a great process and the part of it that is great is that we have a manufacturer council and everybody’s able to give their input,” he said. “We all agreed on this system.

“I believe in the system and we’ve played the system to the letter of the law. There’s always a chance to make it better or more efficient. We may get there as a group.

“I think it’s complicated, so maybe if there was something to change, there may be an opportunity to make it less complicated [for fans to understand].”

No “Golden Nugget” in Key to Mazda’s Breakthrough Success

Doonan said there’s been no single element that’s played to the manufacturer’s recent turnaround in fortunes and success in the DPi class this summer.

“This past two weeks I’ve had a bunch of people ask what was the difference? What changed? What was the golden nugget?” he said.

“The biggest change to this program, hands down, has been Multimatic.

“Those guys have transformed this race car and have put more resources in than they’ve ever been compensated for. Kudos to them.

“But if anyone is looking for a golden egg or one single thing, there’s been a lot of tweaks, polishing and doing the best things you can.

“But then it was our day, then it was our day again. You couldn’t script it.

“I hope we can get another one or two by the end of the year. It’s not going to be easy.”

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

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