Joest, Jarvis Hope for Revived Sebring Success in 2018
The last time the team raced at Sebring, it took home the overall victory with Audi.
Oliver Jarvis and the Joest racing outfit most recently competed at Sebring in 2013. Then a part of Audi factory efforts, the crew took home first place at the 12-hour event in the American Le Mans Series. Now, five years later, they are making a two-car comeback with a pair of Mazda RT24-P prototypes and looking to improve in their second race of the current IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar season.
The German-based Mazda Team Joest was hampered by a slew of breakdowns at Daytona in January and has since been testing to improve reliability and pace. Collectively, the famed endurance racers will look to combine their knowledge with the automaker's experience at Sebring with 13 Mazda-powered machines having won at the track in the past.
John Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports, mentioned that the team's Rolex 24 struggles need to be taken in stride if it wishes to improve at the second part of Florida's 36-hour season-opening rounds.
“While our results at Daytona were far from what we hoped," Doonan explained, "the transformation of the entire Mazda RT24-P package from 2017 to now was a huge positive to take away. As any top program would, we took all the issues we faced at Daytona, understood the root causes, and put together solutions with the support of all of our technical partners. The good news is we validated all of our solutions at the recent Sebring test and we head into race week confident that we have those items addressed. Our goals have not changed. We are going to the race track to win for the Mazda brand and our fans."
Joest will enter two cars, the No. 55 and No. 77 machines, at Sebring with an unchanged driver lineup from Daytona. The No. 55 car will be piloted by Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell, and Spencer Pigot while the No. 77 is set to be controlled by Tristan Nunez, Rene Rast, and Jarvis. The latter reminisced about his past experience with Joest at Sebring, claiming that he hopes to take that previous know-how and apply it to this weekend's event.
“I have great memories at Sebring having won the race in 2013 in my only participation, so it’s an incredible feeling to be going back and once again having the opportunity to fight for the outright win in what is undoubtedly one of the toughest sports car races in the world." Jarvis continued, "It is one of the most physically demanding tracks in the world—not to mention one of the toughest on the car itself. With the bumpy nature of the track and having very few long straights it places huge stresses on the driver, and it is also an extremely difficult track to navigate through the traffic."
"We know we have some extremely strong competition, but the aim as always is to fight for a podium. With the strength of the field and the demanding nature of the track we have to be on top of our game to achieve this.”
Qualifying for the 2018 12 Hours of Sebring will take place on Friday, March 16 with the race starting at 10:30 a.m. EST the following day.