Harry Tincknell and Oliver Jarvis will join Mazda Team Joest for its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign, alongside returning full-season drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez, the Japanese manufacturer confirmed on Tuesday.
Mazda’s reshuffled lineup will see Audi DTM ace Rene Rast also join the team for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races, with Spencer Pigot in for the four long-distance races as well.
Both Joel Miller and Tom Long, who drove for the manufacturer since the inception of its prototype program, will not return.
As previously reported by Sportscar365, ex-Audi LMP1 ace Jarvis had been linked to a full-season drive and recently completed a two-day test with the team at Sebring, ahead of this week’s announcement.
Tincknell, who will continue as a Ford factory driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship, is understood to only have been recently confirmed within the Joest-run squad.
The 26-year-old Englishman, who won the 2016 European Le Mans Series LMP2 championship, is managed by longtime Audi driver Allan McNish.
“I am really honored to be able to race for Mazda Team Joest this season in the WeatherTech Championship,” said Tincknell.
“The whole Mazda team has put in so much effort and made a lot of progress in every area, and after my first test in the car I can’t wait to see how we get on at Daytona.
“The Mazda RT24-P DPi has taken huge strides over the winter and I immediately felt comfortable in the car.”
It’s believed Tincknell’s WEC commitments with Ford will take priority, meaning he could miss the WeatherTech Championship round at Mid-Ohio, as WEC races at Spa-Francorchamps that same weekend.
Jarvis, meanwhile, is coming off a dual-season campaign in the WEC and Blancpain GT Series with Jackie Chan DC Racing and Bentley Team M-Sport, respectively, which saw the Englishman claim LMP2 class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“It was an easy decision when the opportunity arose to be part of it,” Jarvis said.
“Having raced in and won both the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours, the IMSA championship is one I know very well.
“It has always been a goal of mine to race in the championship full-time and I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be part of it as the championship continues to grow.”
Mazda Still Committed to Driver Development Program
While both Tincknell and Jarvis have been brought in from the outside, Mazda still remains committed to its driver development program and the success it’s carried through the years, according to its motorsports director John Doonan.
“Mazda has had a driver development program since 2007,” Doonan said.
“So, it’s a big part of our Mazda Prototype program to feature drivers that have come up through the Mazda ranks, whether that’s in sports cars like Tristan Nuñez, or the open-wheel side of things with Bomarito and Pigot.
“We’re thrilled that those superb young men are back with us again in 2018.
“Working with Joest, we were also able to secure fast, winning drivers from their recent history, which makes Jarvis and Rast a good fit, as is Tincknell, who has been successful in both GT and prototype cars.
“We ask a lot of our drivers outside the car as well, so it’s great to add drivers who will fit the chemistry of what we hope to achieve as a team.”