Harry Tincknell says that Mazda’s decision to end it DPi program has not affected the team’s approach for the remainder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
The Japanese manufacturer announced last month that it will exit top-level prototype racing at the conclusion of the year, electing as well to not continue into the new LMDh era when it debuts in 2023.
While the news caught the drivers off-guard, Tincknell said they have plenty of momentum from the last few races of success.
“Clearly the focus is on winning the championship this year and nothing really changes from that point of view,” he said.
“Of course, to do that we’re going to have to be exceptionally consistent — probably more consistent than we ever have been before and just continue to rack up the points at the front of the field.
“In the Multimatic camp, things are progressing forward towards LMDh at a fast rate. It’s quite well documented. Obviously there’s no concerns of mechanics or engineers looking elsewhere because I think they’re going to be very busy going forward [with Multimatic].
“Mazda have their plans set forward with the grassroots side of things and MX-5.
“I don’t think within our roster that you see at Sebring that there’s anything but positive mentality and continuing on as if the announcement hadn’t been the one we didn’t wish it was.”
Tincknell and co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Jonathan Bomarito are coming off a third place finish in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, with the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P entering next weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as defending race winners.
“The last two races in IMSA for us have been very, very strong,” Tincknell said. “Clearly, going into Daytona we were hopeful of a strong result.
“The team has been on an upward trajectory for the last two or three years.
“Obviously one car got to the end of Daytona in 2020 in more-or-less one piece. And I think [this year] again showed how much the reliability side of the car has come on.
“Sebring is one of the hardest endurance races in the world. Even though it’s only a 12-hour it’s the equivalent of 24 hours at most other tracks.
“To get the win last year and the double podium for Mazda was very strong.
“We’re definitely hopeful of another strong result but we have big momentum and an air of confidence in the team.
“The best I ever saw the team work was at Daytona 2021 and with the most confidence [seen]. Everyone had their ducks in a row and went out and did a really good job.
“That’s continued on to Sebring. We’re hopeful to go and do the repeat.”
Jarvis added that the Multimatic-run operation doesn’t need more motivation than it has already.
“Of course with the news that Mazda will be stopping at the end of the year, it would be great to finish this season and give the car and team the perfect sendoff,” he said.
“That would be winning the big races and Sebring is certainly one of them.
“We didn’t need more motivation but we’re certainly heading there quietly confident and as motivated as we can be. We’ll be doing everything that’s in our control to make sure that the program finishes on a high.”
Mazda Decision “Caught Everybody Off Guard”
Bomarito, who has shifted to Michelin Endurance Cup-only duties following the scaling back to a single-car effort for this year, admitted that Mazda’s decision to axe the DPi program came as a surprise for all involved.
“I think it caught everybody a bit off-guard to be honest,” he said. “We were all hopeful that the program would continue and go into the future with LMDh.
“It’s not in the cards for Mazda at the moment.
“They’re a motorsport company and they’ll always be involved in motorsports to a certain degree, which is special for the company and their history.
“But I think everybody involved was caught off-guard that it wasn’t going to continue in any capacity moving forward.”
Both Bomarito and Jarvis are currently Mazda-contracted, with Tincknell employed by Multimatic, which is understood to be involved with at least one LMDh program for 2023.
“Of course it wasn’t the news that everyone wanted to hear,” said Tincknell. “Things would have been simpler if Mazda had continued. But that’s the decision that has been made.
“Everyone in the engineering and team department were sort of relatively reassured that it’s not like after Petit, or wherever we end the year, it’s goodbye to all of the mechanics.
“Multimatic is a massive operation with lots and lots of different programs going on.
“It’s reassuring that there wasn’t a big panic. The short-term is definitely slightly unknown. But I think everyone is back and ready for Sebring after a decent break from Daytona.
“The atmosphere that’s been created from over the winter just rolls on and that’s fantastic.”