Mazda will have a reduced presence in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, with a move towards a single-car factory DPi program.
The Japanese manufacturer has confirmed that it will enter only a one Mazda DPi for Oliver Jarvis and Harry Tincknell in 2021, with Jonathan Bomarito retained for the Michelin Endurance Cup races.
Tristan Nunez, who had been part of Mazda’s prototype program since its inception in 2014, will remain a brand ambassador and assist with vehicle dynamics within the Multimatic-run program, according to a Mazda spokesperson.
The decision to reduce its DPi effort comes amid a shifting of resources that includes an evaluation of the LMDh platform that’s set to become eligible in the WeatherTech Championship in 2022.
It will mark the first time Mazda has run only one car in the top class.
“As Mazda looks to the future of its motorsports program, resources will focus on evaluating the LMDh category,” a statement provided to Sportscar365 read.
“For the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Mazda will race a one-car team with primary drivers Oliver Jarvis and Harry Tincknell.
“Jonathan Bomarito will be added for endurance races. Tristan Nunez will continue to work closely with Mazda as a brand ambassador and assist with vehicle dynamics.
“We thank all our fans and partners for their continued support for Mazda Motorsports, and we hope to finish this current season on top.”
Mazda’s reduced effort comes as a further blow to the car count in the WeatherTech Championship and the DPi class in general.
The single Mazda and Acura ARX-05 entries from Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing are expected to be joined by Cadillac DPi-V.R entries from both Action Express Racing and JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac, which should result in at least five full-season entries.
It compares to this year’s eight-car grid that will see Team Penske’s exit from the class at seasons’ end.