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Mazda “Very Motivated” in Return to Site of First DPi Win

Mazda returns to site of breakthrough DPi win at Watkins Glen International, two years later…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Harry Tincknell, Oliver Jarvis and Jonathan Bomarito are looking forward to their return to Watkins Glen International this weekend for the first time since Mazda’s breakthrough first DPi win two years ago.

The Japanese manufacturer claimed its long-awaited maiden victory in the 2019 edition of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen with Tincknell, Bomarito and Olivier Pla, that kickstarted a three-race consecutive win streak through the summer months that year.

With the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup round not having been held at The Glen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Multimatic not testing at the 3.4-mile circuit in advance of this year’s race, Friday’s practice will mark the team’s return to the track that Tincknell describes as a “big moment” in the program’s history.

“It was a big miss [on] the calendar [last year],” said Ticknell. “I think everyone enjoys going there and certainly [it holds] very good memories for Mazda Motorsports.

“It was a big moment in 2019 to get the first win for the prototype program in a long time.

“Obviously, we’re very motivated to go back there. It’s a big part of the championship now being two races back to back.

“Jonathan and I are defending the six-hour race and then the next weekend as well, obviously the WeatherTech 240 – we won that at Daytona last year, too. So hopefully we can repeat 2019 and 2020’s successes.”

Tincknell and new-for-2021 full-season driver Jarvis sit second in the DPi title fight heading into the midpoint of the season, trailing championship leaders Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque by 71 points.

The Multimatic-contracted driver believes the results over the next two weekends will be crucial in their championship pursuit.

“It is very important,” Tincknell said. “And obviously two races in a row, back to back weekends at Watkins… If you put a fast race car down this weekend and you’re probably going to have exactly the same next week, as well.

“So it’s kind of like double points up for grabs potentially.

“Sure, we go in there with more confidence but it doesn’t always work out the same way. Just because you’re quick at a track last year, it means that you’ll be quick as two years ago.

“So we’re not taking anything for granted.

“I think it will be a little closer to this time round, but I definitely think we have a car to be in the fight.

“The fact that we were on the front row in Detroit, which is traditionally one of our weakest circuits, gives me a little confidence that we’re going to have the pace.

“But we still got to go there and prove that we can do it, but I think everyone’s excited and motivated.”

Jarvis: Lack of Track Time “More Difficult” Than in Recent Years

While not having tested at Watkins Glen, Tincknell and Jarvis both have been on Multimatic’s simulator to prepare for the weekend ahead.

“I think naturally we would prefer to have tested, but we can’t test at every track,” said Jarvis. “But we’ll do all the preparation we can before we arrive.

“I think it’s more difficult from what I’ve seen from the schedule. We have just two one-hour sessions [and] we’re running three drivers.

“It’s great to have JB back with us. He brings so much to the team. I’m not sure what other teams would do. Maybe they’ll run two, but [practice] is quite limited.

“So I think it’s important that we arrive there with a good setup, which is where the simulation plays a huge role. We’ll also have a good idea of a base setup from 2019, but that’s not to say stuff hasn’t changed in the year or two since.

“I think the great thing about DPi and IMSA is everybody’s constantly making progress. If you stand still, you fall behind.

“So we can’t underestimate our competition.

“I think already in 2019, qualifying was extremely close — a few hundredths, if not a few thousandths. So I expect it to be close again, the qualifying and certainly the race much tougher than in 2019, in some respects.

“We were very strong, but also we were made to look even stronger by the way some of our competitors approach the race.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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