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Juttner: Joest ‘Must Improve’ After Challenging Mazda Debut

Ralf Juttner says Joest must learn from its Mazda DPi debut at Daytona…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Mazda Team Joest managing director Ralf Juttner says they must build on the positives, and address the shortcomings exposed in an incident-filled Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Neither of the heavily revised Mazda RT24-Ps made it to the finish in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener, prompting the Joest-run operation to push for improvements before the next round at Sebring.

While the team did show improved pace, lapping Daytona 3.3 seconds faster than last year’s best time and topping the first Rolex 24 practice session with Rene Rast, Juttner admitted Mazda Team Joest’s debut proved more difficult than he had anticipated.

“I was happy that we at least got 16 hours of running with both cars; that was the good thing. The bad is that we clearly ran into systematic problems,” Juttner told Sportscar365.

“A lot of things happened that haven’t happened before and they didn’t happen on one car but both at a similar time. There were waste gate problems, exhaust problems, electrical… We had these funny complete shutdowns in the cars.

“Sometimes for two or three seconds, sometimes for eight, nine, ten seconds, complete power out and then it was there again and that included power steering.”

The persistent electrical glitches ultimately forced the No. 77 Mazda out of the race, while the sister No. 55 car was retired earlier after an exhaust failure and a resultant fire.

Juttner said the team would regroup to address the problems before the IMSA-sanctioned test at Sebring next month.

“I don’t know what the solution will be,” he said. “We will see together in the next days and discuss it. Probably we will go [to Sebring] maybe with only one car with the improvements in to try to sort those out.

“I don’t know. We will discuss it, involve partners, but we have to improve.

“We have to now really identify our problems, address what works on it to fix it, and to try to fix it because we don’t need to go to drive around. We need to fix this on some important areas.”

Juttner, however, said the silver lining for the team was the improved pace of the car.

“One other good thing is that at least at stages the speed was not bad,” he said. “That gives a bit of hope. If we were nowhere with speed and unreliable then it would be really difficult. But that didn’t look too bad at stages.

“Not at a constant enough basis, but there were stints where we were running the pace of the leaders. There were other stints where we were a bit slower, but that was positive.”

John Dagys contributed to this report.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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