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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mazda Launches New Racing Team With Audi's Team Joest

One of the most accomplished manufacturers in sports prototype racing has announced a renewed assault on the American circuit, and it's partnered with one of the winningest teams in endurance racing to make it happen.

Starting next season, Mazda will compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship together with Joest Racing. That'd be the same Joest that ran Audi's dominant Le Mans program until it was shut down last year.

Though it may not carry the same cachet as Porsche and Audi, Mazda is no slouch in endurance racing, either. Despite Toyota's best efforts, it's still the only Japanese (or Asian) automaker to take overall victory at Le Mans. It's also scored dozens of class wins at Sebring and Daytona, and with 155 wins, ranks as “the third-most successful manufacturer in the history of North American professional sports car racing.”

That's some record to improve upon, but Mazda evidently thinks Joest is up to the task. And not without reason: the German team has 16 Le Mans wins to its name, not to mention dozens more at Sebring, the Petit Le Mans, and Daytona – first with Porsche, then with Audi. It also ran Opel's DTM program, helping to round out its expertise.

Announced hot on the heals of Acura's partnership with Penske, the newly formed Mazda Team Joest effort replaces the previous Mazda Motorsports partnership with SpeedSource Race Engineering. The new team will set up shop near Atlanta, and continue running the Mazda RT24-P DPi prototype developed with Multimatic (the same Ontario-based company that builds the Ford GT) with its production-based 2.0-liter turbo four tuned to the neighborhood of 600 horsepower by Advanced Engine Research.

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