IndyCar star James Hinchcliffe has been confirmed as the final driver in Mazda’s lineup for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, in the debut of the manufacturer’s two-car DPi program.
The 30-year-old Canadian, who recently finished runner-up in ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars”, will share the No. 70 Mazda RT24-P with full-season drivers Tom Long and Joel Miller.
Fellow open-wheel ace, and Mazda Road to Indy graduate Spencer Pigot, meanwhile, will be the third driver in the No. 55 Mazda alongside the returning Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez.
Hinchcliffe is no stranger to the SpeedSource-run team, having made four starts in the last five years at Daytona in Mazda machinery. He was forced to miss last year’s race due to recovering from life-threatening injuries sustained from an accident at Indianapolis in 2015.
“It’s great to be back behind the wheel at Daytona,” Hinchcliffe said. “It sucked sitting out last year’s race, but my focus at the time was getting myself back in shape for the IndyCar season.
“Coming back to Mazda and SpeedSource, where I’ve done all of my races at Daytona, is like coming home and I can’t thank Sylvain [Tremblay, SpeedSource owner] and John [Doonan, Mazda Motorsports director] enough for the chance.
“I can’t wait to be working with everyone there again, to get my hands on the new car, and try and deliver a win for Mazda.”
Hinchcliffe, along with Mazda’s five other drivers will continue the RT24-P’s development at this weekend’s Roar Before the 24, where they’ll also be joined by Ben Devlin, who is expected to be in a reserve driver role for the race.
“With the Mazda Road to 24 and the Mazda Road to Indy now fully developed, we strive to promote from within,” said Mazda Motorsports Director John Doonan.
“Each of our full-time drivers— Joel, Jonathan, Tom and Tristan— have come through at least one of the two programs, and they’ve given us the speed, continuity and great chemistry that a team must have to win.
“We are also thrilled to have Spencer and James back with us for the Rolex 24, as they have been a part of the Mazda family for many years. Their talent and chemistry with the team are extremely valuable.”