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Mazda Not Ruling Out Customer DPis for 2019

Mazda open to potential customer RT24-P DPi in WeatherTech Championship next year…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Mazda has not ruled out offering its DPi package to customers for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, according to motorsports director John Doonan.

The Japanese manufacturer, in its first full season with the upgraded Mazda RT24-P, could make the Multimatic-built prototype available to privateer teams by as early as next year.

It would come amid the split of DPi and LMP2 platforms into separate categories.

“With the way Multimatic has transformed this car, I’d love at some point to offer a customer program,” Doonan told Sportscar365.

“I don’t know if we can do that in as quick as 2019 but we’ve certainly had it on our radar since the beginning.”

Sportscar365 understands that discussions have taken place with an existing Prototype entrant on the prospects of a customer car for next year, potentially filled with graduates from the soon-to-be-sunsetted Mazda Road to Indy program.

Doonan acknowledged general interest in the car over the past year-and-a-half but admitted offering one in time for the 2019 season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona could be a challenge.

“We’ve done some things as a brand in a pretty short time frame, so we’ll see what we can do,” he said.

“Any of the driver development programs we’ve done on the Mazda Road to Indy side or sports car side, the goal has been to bring the very, very best to our top program.

“If we had customer teams, I’ve always seen that as a placement opportunity for new talent.”

If the green light is given, Mazda would be the only DPi manufacturer to openly offer customer cars, with GM understood to have limitations on the number of Cadillac DPi-V.Rs it can support and Acura currently not interested in selling its ARX-05 model.

The future of the Nissan Onroak DPi, a customer-based project funded entirely by Extreme Speed Motorsports, remains unclear amid the exit of its longtime partner Patron.

Doonan: No Mazda TCR Before 2020

Mazda will not enter the TCR ranks until 2020 at the earliest according to Doonan, who has reaffirmed the brand’s commitment to its ‘Road to 24’ driver development program.

A Mazda3-based TCR car has been under evaluation from the automaker since plans were announced to adopt the global touring car platform for both IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge.

“Down the road, I’ve love to see us in the mix for TCR,” Doonan said. “We don’t have a timeframe for that yet but we’ll report on that as soon as we can.” 

While a Mazda TCR car would add a further rung to the manufacturer’s ‘Road to 24’ ladder, Doonan indicated they could potentially again help place its Global MX-5 Cup champion in a non-Mazda entry in the newly-renamed Michelin Pilot Challenge next year.

Patrick Gallagher, who won the $200,000 Road to 24 scholarship in 2017, competes in a Multimatic-run Ford Mustang GT4 in the GS class alongside Mazda alum Chad McCumbee.

“We’ll have to see what’s available and everything but Patrick and Chad have done an awesome job there and won at Watkins Glen,” Doonan said.

“I’m really proud of how that’s worked out.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. Brian France

    August 8, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Anyone got a stiff drink?

    I’m starting to get the shakes.

  2. Sorc

    August 8, 2018 at 9:20 am

    In other words, not happening. Another fluff piece.

  3. Pay Driver

    August 8, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Absolutely genius stuff from IMSA here. One DPi (Nissan) is privately-funded and its future hangs in the balance, another (Mazda) could show up at the Xfinity Road America race in two weeks and find a way to lose, another (Cadillac) is already at 3.5 cars, and they’re okay with the other just not being interested in selling customer cars.

    Customer cars need to happen for this goofy split to work, but they won’t.

  4. The Fisherman

    August 8, 2018 at 9:57 am

    They’re being awfully optimisitic with this, as there might not be any factory-run Mazdas next year.

    • RX

      August 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      Program for ‘19 hasn’t been signed off yet.

  5. Tim

    August 8, 2018 at 10:04 am

    JDC is the entrant I bet. They have been wanting to go to DPI and now we have customer Mazda DPIs

    • Eric

      August 9, 2018 at 7:59 am

      JDC also mentioned spliting their cars (1 pdi, one lmp2). I can see the Gainsco car being a Cadillac with SDR’s departure, which opens up a Cadillac spot. Knowing JDC and their ladder system, this makes a bit of sense.

  6. Doogle

    August 8, 2018 at 10:42 am

    I would think it would be in Multimatic’s interest to have Mazda sell customer cars. Don’t think you could sell a global spec Riley-Multimatic, being that since the “Joker” there has been one car only doing one race. I would think selling a couple Mazdas would help recoup development costs. Mazda has to show the car can win.

    • Question

      August 8, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      Speaking of the Joker – why didn’t Dallara just use the Cadillac bodywork as their evo kit in the WEC? That way Cadillac could run in LMP2 with the Gibson. Same with the Riley and Mazda.

  7. Chris Suttell

    August 8, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Hopefully this becomes reality. Combined with a potential Ford entrant(s), things continue to look up for IMSA’s top class.
    Customer DPi programs seem like a good way for those manufacturers to increase their chances of seeing one of their branded power plants in victory lane. I’m not sure why more aren’t offering this. My guess is that factory-backed teams would find it unfair that customer teams would reap the benefits of the initial blood, sweat and tears invested into the R&D of the respective DPis.

  8. JG

    August 8, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Best looking DPI car, second the Acura

  9. Mike S.

    August 8, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    So what would Joest think of this if it were to happen? That is what I would want to know. I get it more data for Mazda to make them better but even Joest with his resources tease us with a good finish or possible win only to let it slip away some how some way every time.

    • FLB

      August 8, 2018 at 8:50 pm

      Joest has run with the same stuff as other temas in the past. They were a customer Porsche 962 program. Remember that Champion Racing also ran the R8LM Spyder at the same time as Joest in the ALMS (and Johansson at Le Mans in 2001), among others.

      So I tens to beleive they would have no issue whatsoever with a customer Mazda team, so long as they were being paid.

  10. John

    August 8, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Mazda’s been the only one to fully embrace the spirit of the DPi concept.

    Hopefully, they stick around and see some better results.

  11. Steven

    August 8, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    I would find it extremely funny if a privateer team wins with the Mazda before the factory team.

  12. Well

    August 8, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I think they realized that non team want to use their cars because of unreliable.

    • goodgrief

      August 8, 2018 at 10:39 pm

      speaky engrish…………………..

  13. jaysfan

    August 8, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    I just have one question, why would they switch from Lola LMP2 chassis to DPI whatever the hell they’ve been running this season?

    • Louis

      August 8, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      Lola is no longer eligable and the DPi’s have to be based on a current LMP2 chassis. The Mazda is based on the Multimatic LMP2 car… In a sense they are still using Lola’s as Multimatic owns that.

  14. dan

    August 9, 2018 at 1:35 am

    who would buy that Piece of shit?

    • Slicks in the wet

      August 9, 2018 at 2:31 am

      This is correct.

      Mazda may sell to customers. But no one wants this crap.

      Mazda USA. Pull the plug on this. Figure out a TCR car instead.

  15. Cosmo DeLuca

    August 9, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    • Slicks in the wet

      August 10, 2018 at 12:20 am


      Screw this team.

  16. Ko I

    August 10, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Dude. I root for Mazda’s DPIs, and even I’m going to say you need to WIN A RACE with it before anyone’s going to be terribly interested in buying it.

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