Mazda Team Joest has begun its U.S.-based testing program with a heavily revised Mazda RT24-P this week at Daytona International Speedway, in the ramp up to the program’s debut in January’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener.
The two-day test, which kicked off on Tuesday, has seen Tristan Nunez, Jonathan Bomarito, Joel Miller and Spencer Pigot share driving duties of the car, which has undergone significant updates from Multimatic in recent months.
Bomarito, Nunez and Audi ace Rene Rast took part in an initial shakedown of an interim car last month at Hockenheim, followed by a test at Donington Park with Bomarito at the wheel.
Tuesday’s track action marked the first mileage of what is expected to be the car’s final configuration, which will be presented to the FIA, ACO and IMSA for LMP2 and DPi homologations.
“It feels completely different now. It’s so confidence-inspiring to see the changes made to how it is on track. It’s a completely different car,” Nunez told NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno following the first day of the test.
“It seemed like the car was a lot more compliant. It’s easier to drive. It wasn’t doing anything ‘evil.’
“You knew what it’d do, and it did it every time. At times before, you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into. Now it’s a lot more confidence-inspiring.”
While driver lineups are not expected to be announced until early next month, Nunez and Bomarito, along with the potential of Miller, are all likely to be retained as full-season pilots.
Ex-Audi LMP1 ace Oliver Jarvis has been also linked to a full-time seat, with Rast and Pigot expected to be the team’s third drivers for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races.