Tristan Nunez says his first career overall IMSA victory has been “worth the wait” following a “dream come true” achievement for himself and Mazda Team Joest in Sunday’s Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The 23-year-old Floridan, who has been a Mazda factory driver since 2013, teamed with Oliver Jarvis for top honors on Sunday, marking back-to-back wins for the Japanese manufacturer.
For the former Mazda development driver, who made his top-level sports car racing debut in SpeedSource’s diesel-powered Mazda6 GX car in Grand-Am, the overall win has been a long time coming.
“I’ve said it multiple times, it’s worth the wait,” Nunez said. “We won some GX races but this was playing with the big boys.
“All the effort we’ve put in and all the changes we’ve made, I really think we have a full, strong package now. We have all the pieces checked off.
“I think it showed in the past two weeks. You can’t get better than two, one-two finishes.
“It’s really a dream come true. I’ve been dreaming about this moment since I got signed on by John [Doonan, Mazda Motorsports director] in the beginning. So it really hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Nunez, who has been the only driver to have been retained by the Mazda prototype program since its inception in 2014, said it’s been a team effort from the start, but especially in recent races.
Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell and Olivier Pla gave Mazda its long-awaited first win last weekend at Watkins Glen, an achievement which Nunez admitted to have teared up for.
“The past couple of races now, we’ve been having meetings as a team, the four drivers, or even last weekend six drivers, with John and Larry Holt from Multimatic,” he said.
“We always say it doesn’t matter which one wins, we just needed a Mazda to be on the top step of the podium. They are both painted red and different numbers on the side, but it’s one team, one goal.
“Last week, the 55 won and I had tears coming down my face. It was a long time coming.
“I’m really just so happy to give that result to John [Doonan]. He’s had a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of plane rides, a lot of hotels booked, and lots of meetings, and it’s good to just give it to him.
“Everyone in the paddock wants to see Mr. Doonan have some success.”