That neat green and orange paint job on the number 55 Mazda Prototype in the IMSA WeatherTech series is, most likely, history, as the livery is expected to return to the Dentyne-package red, similar to the number 70 team car.
That neon paint job on the 55 car was to honor the 25th anniversary of Mazda’s overall win at the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans – they love to remind us that they are the only Japanese company to win Le Mans.
Of course, that almost changed this year when the Toyota P1 prototype stopped at the finish line on the next-to-last lap while it was leading, which was caused by a tech-savvy Mazda fan who hacked into the car’s computer and stopped the Toyota at the most embarrassing position possible on the track to preserve Mazda’s place in history.
Wait! That didn’t happen! (Or did it?) Of course it didn’t. Not possible. (Or is it?) No! Certainly not. But feel free to use it in your next novel.
The number 55’s tribute paint debuted a week ago at the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen, and with Sunday’s race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, there was no time to re-wrap the car, so the Andy Warhol-looking orange and green stuck around. But with the next race for the Prototypes not until August at Road America, we’re hearing the car goes back to dark red.
Which is, incidentally, a mistake, as the number 70 just disappears on the TV screen, while the number 55 snaps, probably doing more for Mazda’s brand identity than the dark red did in the past two and a half years.
Speaking of two and a half years, that’s how long Mazda has been waiting for a Prototype win. They had no chance the first two years when geniuses in Japan decreed that the car should run a diesel engine, which turned out to be a boat anchor. The team was finally able to ditch the diesel – now that Mazda’s years-long promise to bring a diesel-powered Mazda 6 to America seems unlikely – replacing it with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which is fast.
In fact, the number 55 qualified on the pole for today’s race, and built up a 16-second lead at one point. Then a jack failed during a pit stop, putting the car behind, and it was catching up when the right rear hub broke, as the team is diligently checking off every possible way to lose a race known to motorsports.
So we say, keep the orange and green livery, and put it on the number 70, too, maybe switching the green and the orange. If you can’t win, at least make sure they knew you were there.