What does it take to be a factory driver for Mazda Motorsports and for others? Jonathan Bomarito knows.
Being a factory driver takes winning on track, taking care of equipment, being a good teammate, and working your tail off for your partners off track,” said Jonathan Bomarito. He sums it up as well by saying, “You simply need to be versatile on and off track.” Bomarito would know; he’s been a factory driver since 2010. The 33-year-old returned to the Mazda fold in 2015 after winning the GTLM team/car championships in 2014, but narrowly missing the driver’s championship to his season-long teammate.
Throughout his career, Bomarito has excelled on track. He has six career victories in the top categories of American road racing and has a long history with Mazda, most prominently winning the GT class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
As a 24 Hours at Daytona winner in 2010, Bomarito placed 3rd in the driver’s championship and took the Rookie of the Year honors. Prior to that, he was the 2008 Formula Atlantic runner-up with three wins and the most laps led. In 2003, he was the Formula 2000 champion with five wins, while earning Rookie of the Year honors. In 2000, he was the Stars of Tomorrow karting champion. “Rarely do we as drivers get to race the same car, on the same circuit, against the same drivers, and with the same partners. To be successful in this sport, you need to learn as much as possible in every car you drive to be a versatile driver,” commented Bomarito.
Bomarito has been a driver coach at various racing schools for the past 15 years. He offers on-site coaching; off-site video coaching; driver simulator coaching; career management coaching and health & wellness coaching, among more. For those who know him, you will often hear him say, “It’s no longer about just driving a car well, it’s about the ‘whole’ driver package.” And he is right. For those who want to learn more, check out his site.
Many of the top drivers in the world were groomed from an early age. This is no different for Bomarito. Having grown up on the Monterey Peninsula, he has been a staple at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since he was very young, taking in some of the most legendary races many of us have seen, and participating in quite a few himself.
Teammate: Tristan Nunez