Last lap flyer by Jonathan Bomarito vaults No. 55 Mazda RT24-P to third place
DETROIT, Mi. (May 31, 2019) – Mazda Team Joest rebounded from a challenging first practice session at the IMSA Sports Car Classic in Detroit, Michigan to qualify in third place for tomorrow afternoon’s 100-minute race.
Both of the team’s Mazda RT24-P prototypes were sidelined by electrical issues throughout the first practice session of the day, leaving only the day’s second practice session to work on the setup of the team’s two cars. After finishing that session in sixth and ninth position, the team entered qualifying with Jonathan Bomarito tasked with driving the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P and Tristan Nunez driving the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P.
The fifteen-minute qualifying session saw Bomarito in fourth position throughout the session, incrementally improving his lap times but not his position. On the final lap, however, Bomarito recorded a lap of 1:19.060, putting him into third position by a scant 0.031-seconds. He will share the car in tomorrow’s race with Harry Tincknell.
Tristan Nunez qualified in seventh position with a lap of 1:20.508, and will share his car with Oliver Jarvis in tomorrow’s race.
The Sports Car Classic from Belle Isle will be broadcast live on NBC Sports on Saturday, June 1 at 12:30 PM ET.
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports
“It was a challenging start to the day for both cars today. You can’t really afford to miss out on practice, which is certainly at a premium here, but our team did an amazing job to get up to speed and get both cars turning competitive times before the end of the second practice session. The guys rolled the dice a bit in qualifying, and it paid off and but for Tristan catching lapped traffic on his three flying laps, I think we would have had two Mazdas right near the front. I think Jonathan got the absolute maximum out of himself to set that lap, and a third-place effort in qualifying really lifts everyone’s spirits. “We are all excited to get the race started tomorrow afternoon.”
No. 55 Mazda RT24-P
“On a street course like this, qualifying is super sketchy – you just have to drive at 110%. The car had plateaued after about four or five laps, and it was a little bit loose, so I was just finding ways to balance the car a little bit better each lap. And, I was starting to take a little more risk each lap, and luckily was able to get a really good lap in at the end. Mazda Team Joest has done an amazing job today to find a good balance for the car despite having limited track time compared to our competitors. Finishing the day on a high is great for the team – it makes the workload that they have tonight a bit easier and it always feels better when you know you have a shot for the race. I’m looking forward to moving up and seeing what Harry can do in the car because he’s a rockstar and he’ll go up the field even further.”
No. 77 Mazda RT24-P
“That was definitely a challenging session. The guys worked really hard to improve the car and get us on the pace after we missed so much time this morning, and I think we are very close but we missed the window just a little bit in qualifying. And here, with the field so close and the penalty so big for making a mistake, I think seventh place was a solid effort for us. It’s not a great place to start on a street circuit, where passing is so challenging, but we have something to build off of for tomorrow. Hopefully, with a little luck, the right calls in the pits and Olly and I being aggressive, we can get back up to the other Mazda.”