Mazda Motorsports director John Doonan has been named IMSA’s new President, with the sanctioning body confirming the longtime motorsports manufacturer boss as Scott Atherton’s successor on Tuesday.
Doonan will take the place as IMSA President effective Jan. 1, 2020, with his first day on the job scheduled for Mon. Oct. 21.
Doonan’s appointment comes after a successful tenure leading Mazda’s North American motorsports programs, which has included its race-winning factory DPi operation, open-wheel and grassroots racing efforts.
The 49-year-old Illinois native has been widely regarded as one of the most passionate and well-respected motorsports executives in the sports car racing paddock.
“John is a fantastic choice to become our next president, to build upon the momentum of our just-completed 50th anniversary season and take our sport to the next level,” said Ed Bennett, IMSA chief executive officer.
“He is respected, well known in our paddock, and brings a strong passion for motorsport that will greatly benefit everyone involved.”
A former Mazda regional advertising manager, Doonan joined the manufacturer’s motorsports efforts in 2005, initially as manager of motorsports and team development before being promoted to its director of motorsports in 2011.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime and dream opportunity after attending IMSA races since I was young boy,” Doonan said.
“I am very humbled and truly honored to have the opportunity to join the IMSA team and I’m really looking forward to making a positive impact for our sport, our partners and our industry.”
No word has yet been given on Doonan’s replacement at Mazda, which recently announced an expansion to TCR racing next year.
Doonan joins IMSA’s executive team after a 20-year stint by Atherton, initially as the President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series prior to its merger with Grand-Am, which became the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
As previously announced, Atherton will remain on IMSA’s board of directors with a focus on maintaining its link to the ACO.