Mazda is expected to part ways with Joest Racing following the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, with a mid-season team switch possible for the DPi manufacturer.
Sportscar365 has learned that the German outfit’s contract, which runs through the end of the Japanese business year in March, has not been renewed, leading to the possibility of the factory Mazda RT24-Ps running under two different banners in 2020.
Multimatic, which has served as the program’s technical partner and has been steadily integrated into race operations over the last 12 months, is expected to fully take over the program, beginning with the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season at Long Beach in April.
When reached by Sportscar365, a Mazda spokesperson said they don’t comment on contracts but did confirm Mazda has a multi-year commitment to its IMSA DPi program.
The legendary ex-Audi LMP1 factory squad, which was brought into replace SpeedSource in mid-2017, played a role in the turnaround of the factory DPi program, having worked alongside Multimatic and engine tuner AER to help deliver three wins this year.
It came, however, after a staff shakeup in the off-season, with longtime Joest managing director Ralf Juttner being re-assigned away from the IMSA program, reportedly following disagreements with Mazda management over the operation of the program.
Multiple sources told Sportscar365 that Multimatic took possession of Mazda’s race cars and equipment following last month’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans, with the Canadian-based firm having since completed tests at Daytona and Sebring with what’s believed to be a new or upgraded engine package.
In addition to Joest’s departure, Mazda has yet to name a replacement for its former motorsports director John Doonan, who has since become IMSA’s president.
Rumors of longtime Audi engineer Brad Kettler, who worked with Mazda Team Joest this year, serving as Doonan’s successor are understood to be inaccurate.