– Both Cars Encounter Issues, Finish 8th and Tenth-
AUSTIN, Texas (May 6, 2017) – It was a beautiful, sunny day at the Circuit of the Americas today for the Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown. But, it was if a dark cloud took hold over the Mazda Prototype team’s small area of Texas real estate, as they struggled with a variety of mechanical and electronic gremlins to finish eighth (No. 70 Mazda) and tenth (No. 55 Mazda) in the Prototype class in the two-hour, 40-minute race.
The race started beautifully for the team, as Jonathan Bomarito jumped to fifth from his eighth-place starting spot in the 55, while Tom Long made an even bigger advance into sixth place from his tenth-place start. Approximately 20 minutes into the race, Bomarito reported a misfire that reduced the horsepower from the engine. The team tried repeatedly to correct the electrical gremlins, but were never able to get to the root problem of the mystery. In the meantime, the hard-charging Long soon began to suffer a turbo-boost issue on the No. 70 car. Both starting drivers gave way to their teammates (Tristan Nunez in the 55, Joel Miller in the 70), but the Soul Red 55 car retired from the race while the No. 70 overcame brake problems to cross the finish line.
– Quotes –
Tom Long, starting driver, No. 70 Castrol Edge/ModSpace Mazda
You had a great start and went four-wide into Turn 1: “We had a great start in the No. 70 Mazda today but I got forced wide. It was frustrating that I wasn’t able to make the move at that point but we really pushed forward and made it up to fifth place in our stint. The guys worked hard today. We had some issues, but they kept their head down and focused forward to fix it and to finish the race.”
Joel Miller, finishing driver, No. 70 Castrol Edge /ModSpace Mazda
You climbed in after the team had fixed the turbo issues. How was it for you in the car in the final hour? “Tom had some mechanical gremlins, but a good job by the crew for figuring out what it was and fixing it. That’s the job our guys do. The car handled to its potential, so we’ll learn more and move on. We’ll get there.”
Jonathan Bomarito, starting driver, No. 55 Mazda Prototype
You moved from eighth to fifth right away, and ran with the leaders in the opening segment of the race. “We had a great start, and I was taking it easy, just trying to save my rear tires and running right on pace with the Cadillacs. But then we developed a strange issue where the engine seemed to be running against the rev limiter, but the RPMs weren’t that high. It was a false reading and it was causing us to lose power and not able to get to the revs we needed.”
Tristan Nunez, finishing driver, No. 55 Mazda Prototype
You got in the car when it was having the issues and it never got better for you. “It was tough to manage that. I was just trying to give the team as much information as possible to diagnose the situation. Those kinds of electrical issues are pretty tough to find, as these cars have so many electrical and electronic systems. The team gave their best effort. Sometimes, despite your best effort, it can come and get you.”
John Doonan, director, Mazda Motorsports in North America
“All of us at Mazda came into the Austin event believing that the momentum from our Long Beach podium finish would carry over. Unfortunately, our race did not turn out that way. Mazda is very focused on delivering results for our brand and we will re-group with our technical partners to do exactly that.”
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24) program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy (#MRTI) is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Mazda is also the title sponsor of the renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Follow all of the latest news at MazdaMotorsports.com, @MazdaRacing on Twitter, and MazdaMotorsports on Instagram and Facebook.