Larry Holt is expecting the pair of Mazda RT24-Ps to again be competitive in this weekend’s Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring, on the heels of a commanding 1-2 finish in the first race under full Multimatic operation.
Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito picked up the fourth victory for the Multimatic-built DPi car and first of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season in the series’ return to racing at Daytona earlier this month.
The No. 55 Mazda pairing are now tied for second in the DPi points race, four points behind teammates Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez, who have collected a pair of second place finishes so far this season.
Holt, who serves as Multimatic’s Executive Vice President and runs the company’s new Special Vehicle Operations division, is bullish on their chances in Saturday’s two-hour and 40-minute race, which he admits will be a “far easier” race on the cars compared to Sebring’s traditional around-the-clock enduro.
“We now have some momentum running the cars and a great result under our belt, so I’m expecting to be competitive at Sebring,” Holt said. “Saying that, it is a rough old place that is hard on cars but this event will be a far easier deal than the 12 hour version.
“We know that our going-in setup is good and just need to stop the normal tendency of going softer that the initial driver feedback initiates.
“I once again give all credit to Charlie Cadieux’s team management, not only from the preparation side but also in terms of how he is keeping everybody safe with stringent COVID-19 protocols and some innovative approaches to meetings and trackside engineering.”
While the Mazda program is off to its best-ever start, Jarvis said it’s too early to be thinking specifically about the championship, despite being in an early points lead.
“I prefer to take each race as it comes,” he said. “We’re always going out trying to win the race or score the maximum points possible.
“Hopefully if we do that, certainly by Race 5, Race 6, we’ll have a good understanding whether we’re in the championship hunt.
“I do think this year is slightly different in the sense that having gotten off to such a strong start, the championship is in the back of our mind.
“We’re very aware that we need to keep maximizing the results to make that championship possible at the end of the year.
“We couldn’t have started off better with the the two podium finishes. We would have loved to have won but it’s put us in a very strong position moving into Sebring.”
Tincknell Felt “Quite Buzzed” About New Driver Change Procedure
Daytona winner Tincknell said he felt a sense of adrenaline with the team’s new driver change procedure at Daytona, which sees the exiting driver buckle in and assist their co-driver instead of the typical use of a driver helper.
Mazda appeared to be the only DPi team to utilize such a strategy at Daytona, citing the restriction of 15 personnel per car due to IMSA’s COVID-19 operations protocol.
“Usually that’s on someone else and we just have our routine and sit there and they do everything for us. If something goes wrong it’s not our fault,” Tincknell said.
“It was an added bit of adrenaline as you see the car rolling down the pit lane.
“It all went well. There were a few drinks bottles being thrown over walls that maybe we hadn’t practiced beforehand but honestly, the driver changes were all done one within the fuel [load].
“We were pretty happy but we’ve got to stay on top of it because of the yellow falls at the right point, it could be a 15 16 second fuel stop and then it really puts massive pressure on the driver change.”