Mazda Factory Driver Tom Long shares his learning experience this past week during his test in the all-new Mazda RT24-P at Daytona.
During the past couple of days we were at Daytona for an IMSA sanctioned test, and it was our first time running the new Mazda RT24P at that track. It felt good to be back at Daytona and to see all of the familiar cars and teams. Of course everyone is busy preparing for the upcoming Rolex 24 next month.
On the first day of our test, Mazda managed to log the most miles out of any of the prototypes. We worked through all kinds of new car aspects that have to be sorted out, like optimizing cooling and driver fitment.
For the second day, we focused more on optimizing setup changes and working with different aero settings. By the end of that day, we had an excellent list of what we need to focus on as we prepare for the season opener.
Although I have driven a prototype around Daytona for the past three seasons, this one is very different. From the cockpit feel – body positioning is very different and we’re sitting on the left side now – to the way the steering and brakes feel is different than the previous prototype. With all of these changes, though, come some great improvements. I think that as a team, we each have an idea of the things we need to do to get this car developed so we can all come together and have an even better package when we return to Daytona next month.