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.”