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Tincknell “Gutted” After Late-Race Misfortune for Mazda

Harry Tincknell on Mazda’s late-race misfortune, overall turnaround from Daytona…

Photo: MPS Agency

Harry Tincknell says he feels “gutted” following late-race misfortune that dashed a likely podium finish in Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring for Mazda Team Joest.

The No. 55 Mazda RT24-P was forced to settle for a sixth place result after Tincknell struggled to rejoin the race in the final pit stop due to a dead battery, which was drained from an ongoing clutch issue.

It came following a breakout performance for both the German squad and Multimatic-built prototype, which contended for the win.

Tincknell revealed they managed to overcome its clutch issues for majority of the race.

“Usually we’d go into neutral and leave the engine running,” he told Sportscar365. “But when we tried that, when you put the clutch into first [gear], it would immediately stall.

“So we were coming in, stopping in first, and then basically with the help of the Joest muscle pass, pushing the rear wing.

“I was just basically full on the clutch, full on the throttle and on the starter motor and it just sort of chugged into gear.

“I was hoping that would do it every time and it would just pull away.”

The final stop, however, didn’t go to plan as the Englishman was unable to get away with just 41 minutes left on the clock.

It came when Tincknell was running second overall.

“It was obviously gutting,” he said. “I was trying to pump the pedal up and it just felt like days until being able to jump start it.”

Joest Racing Managing Director Ralf Juttner admitted they had no choice but to go for it in the end.

He said every effort was being made to conserve the charge in the battery, including shutting off the headlights while under full course caution.

“We thought about what to do,” Juttner told Sportscar365. “Do you do something that would cost us time in the last stop [while] in the pits, being one of the cars fighting for the win, or do what we did the last five stops before and get away like this?

“Of course, we tried, otherwise we’d be in trouble…That very last stop, [it didn’t work].”

“Massive Turnaround” from Daytona

Despite the disappointing result, Tincknell was quick to highlight the positives from the weekend, which saw both Mazda DPis showcase improved pace and reliability compared to January’s season-opener in Daytona.

The No. 77 car, which lost time early due to a brake change, set the race’s fastest lap, while neither car encountered any engine-related issues that had plagued the program up until now.

“It was amazing to be in contention,” Tincknell said. “I don’t think many people would have expected us to have had this massive turnaround so quick.

“Multimatic has done an unbelievable job to overturn the car. Of course, a new team is going to take a little while. We took a lot of stick after Daytona but the boys just got their heads down.

“For me personally, I’m still learning. I hardly had any laps at the test.

“My first stint was when I was learning. To be in the car in the end fighting with the best of the best in prototypes was mega.

“I’ve said before the season started that I felt that this car that will definitely win races this year and we nearly won the second biggest of them all.”

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. Mazda Greg

    March 18, 2018 at 9:55 am

    This performance far exceeded my expectations. I do not like that it was just another issue that failed but keep up the good work, you have restore some faith in me in getting this program turned around.

  2. Michael Waldron

    March 18, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Exciting to witness this team making the strides. Hated it for them to not challenge at the last hour.

  3. Evan

    March 18, 2018 at 11:27 am

    As a Mazda driver and fan, it was tough that they couldn’t squeeze just one more jump out of it to stay on the podium. But hey, I expected to be watching something else by the four hour mark and ended up parked on the couch for the whole thing rooting on my team.

    The fact that both of those engines ran the full twelve hours without an issue is a huge step forward, and the car had the speed to mix it up at the top in a long race. The 77 even set the fastest lap, something I can’t recall happening in recent memory (maybe Laguna Seca a couple years ago in the Lola??).

    A lot to be proud of for this program, especially after the disaster at Daytona.

    • j_c

      March 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Same here. I figured if they could make it at least 4 hours there’s gotta be a win in the coming sprint races.

  4. Haskellb

    March 18, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Glad to see they are turning things around in the right direction.

  5. Kevin Allen

    March 18, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    I don’t get it, the battery died because they had to start the car in gear? The charging system failed? The battery failed? They were conserving the battery shutting lights off? Obviously more to the story than the battery died because the clutch hydraulics failed, or whatever.

  6. Larry

    March 18, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    I was working Turn 14 and the Mazdas did sound sweet coming through on the gas hard.

    It’s just a left hand kink that the P-cars take at about 140 and the Mazdas sounded great.

    We hit ’em with a radar gun just to see.

  7. Jeremy

    March 19, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Seems like it may have been the clutch causing a parasitic draw on the battery, shutting the lights off under caution period was trying to conserve any reserve charge that was in the battery at that time. I guess that didn’t work for the last pit stop I remember wondering why the lights kept shutting off and I was thinking there are some electrical gremlins plaguing the car. It was an impressive performance and I am so happy to see both cars finish with no major engine issues and the next couple of races look bright for Mazda, the pace is definitely there and the driver line up has proved they can run with the best

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