The world of motorsport was stunned when Mazda inked a deal in mid-2017 with long-time Audi prototype championship-winning backers Joest to help turn around its RT24-P efforts in IMSA. Things had not gone particularly well prior to the revamp, which saw major changes to the car, the engine, and the driver lineup. It all came good, however, when Mazda finally won races in the series earlier in 2019.
Now, it would seem, the dream team will be pulled apart right as it finds its stride. With the contract left un-renewed between Hiroshima and the Germans—according to a report from SportsCar365—Joest will leave the team following the first two endurance rounds of the 2020 season, the 24 hours of Daytona and the 12 hours of Sebring.
Apparently the contract is set to expire at the end of the Japanese calendar year, which would explain the March 2020 split.
Mazda Motorsports team boss John Doonan announcing his departure to head up IMSA itself last month, which was something of a shake up in its own right. Mazda has today announced that Nelson Cosgrove, a former TRD senior manager with lots of experience in NASCAR. IMSA is part of the NASCAR family.
SportsCar365‘s sources report that Mazda and Multimatic have been testing the RT24-P with some as-yet-unknown new or revised engine in Florida since the IMSA season ended in October. The base underlying chassis upon which the RT24-P is built is a Riley-Multimatic Mk. 30, which the Canadian motorsports firm should know inside and out.
When reached for comment, a Mazda Motorsports representative was quick to confirm that Mazda is committed to IMSA competition and the continuation of the DPi-class program. Considering the years of investment in this program, it would be an absolute shame to dump it just as it start to win races, so I have no other option but to believe that statement.