Mazda Hat Trick

Winning Mazda at speed. [Photo by Jack Webster]

Winning Mazda at speed. [Photo by Jack Webster]

By Jack Webster & Eddie LePine

At the Road America round of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA proved once again that they have the best formula for sports car racing in the world.

The race was a clean and green affair, run for the entire scheduled two hours and forty minutes without any full course yellows. As such, the winning car covered 83 laps or 335.984 miles on the way to victory.

The Mazda DPi of Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell took Mazda’s third win in a row, an outstanding achievement for the Joest Racing and Multimatic crew, but it certainly was not a cakewalk, as the Mazda held off a very strong charge from Dane Cameron in the Penske Acura to win by only .227 seconds. Third on the podium was the #77 Mazda, cementing Mazda’s second half of the season charge to the front.

Winning driver Harry Tincknell: “Ever since I came over to IMSA, I’ve been loving it. Once we start winning, I thought this is going to be fantastic. Now three in a row for Mazda is fantastic.”

His co-driver Jonathan Bomarito: “It was just a flat out race, no cautions. It was managing traffic, managing rear tire wear, managing fuel numbers. And pushing like crazy the whole time trying to keep pace with Penske, build gaps in traffic.”

Things were a bit easier for Ford in the GTLM class, as they took a 1-2 victory, with the #67 Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe piloted car defeating their sister #66 entry of Joey Hand and Dirk Müller by just over ten seconds. These 2019 victories are to be savored by the Chip Ganassi Ford GT team, as it has been confirmed that this will be the final few races for the Ford GT program, and there are no current plans for a Ford DPi until at least 2022. That means that all the Ford drivers are now free agents and they are all working to line up deals for next season and beyond. It looked to us like they were all working to that end, as the drivers were constantly on their mobile phones when not in the cars during the Road America event. On a positive note for 2020, Corvette will be racing the new mid-engine Corvette C8.R. A street car version of the new Vette was on display in the paddock, and there was massive interest from the fans. Hopefully, someone steps forward to either campaign the Ford GT as a private entry or Ferrari comes back to the GTLM ranks.

In GTD it was Porsche on top as the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R took a one lap victory over the #48 Lamborghini of Bryan Sellers and Ryan Hardwick. For the Pfaff crew, it was their second win in a row.

In LMP2, the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca took top honors, their 4th straight win. Granted, there are only two LMP2 cars running the whole season this year, but the PR1 guys still had to earn it. This is another class that we hope to see additional entries in next season.

The weather was picture perfect, with temps in the upper 80’s and no rain. One of the larger crowds we have seen showed up at the historic Elkhart Lake circuit to enjoy a full day of IMSA sports car racing in the Wisconsin countryside. IMSA has definitely put together a winning formula for sports car racing and is being rewarded with large and enthusiastic crowds wherever the series goes. Celebrating their 50th anniversary this season, IMSA keeps going from strength to strength. Under the leadership of IMSA President Scott Atherton, we see nothing but continued growth and success for the series.

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