After months of lockdown, the world of sportscar racing is ready to emerge for the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. With only one race completed before the outbreak of Covid-19, the series is gearing up for a revised schedule of events across North America, starting where it left off at Daytona International Speedway.
The IMSA WeatherTech 240 at Daytona will run on Independence Day, reminiscent of the famous Paul Revere 250 race that traditionally took up the midsummer sportscar racing slot at Daytona. This will be the first event since Multimatic Motorsports took the helm of the Mazda Motorsports IWSCC campaign. In the same way that it ran Ford’s World Endurance Championship assault with the Ford GT from 2016 until 2019, the Multimatic Motorsports squad will now campaign the Mazda RT24-P in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The Mazda DPi team runs from a new Multimatic Motorsports facility in Mooresville, North Carolina. The team principal is the vastly-experienced Charlie Cadieux, who leads a seasoned group made up of Multimatic Motorsports personnel from both sides of the Atlantic.
Leena Gade, Multimatic’s Vehicle Dynamics Centre Manager and triple Le Mans winning engineer, will continue to race engineer the #77 Mazda, raced by Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez. The #55 Mazda of Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito remains under the control of race engineer Vince Libertucci.
Executive Vice President of Multimatic Special Vehicle Operations, Larry Holt commented: “The world has endured a very challenging period these last months and everybody is seeking some level of normalcy to connect back to a pre-Covid world; IMSA’s return to racing initiative will hopefully provide some of that. The global crisis has made Multimatic’s transition to fully running the Mazda Motorsports team far more difficult than it would have normally been, and I must give Charlie all credit for being able to get it done to a very high standard. Of course, our primary consideration is everybody’s safety and, like in all of our facilities around the world, we have implemented all possible measures to assure the health of the team and our partners. Please, all fans of motorsports, enjoy this small respite in this most challenging of times.”
TECHNICAL FOCUS with Leena Gade
“You can’t just cut and paste the set up from the 24 Hours At Daytona for the Daytona 240. In January it can get pretty cold in the evening and overnight but Florida in July is likely to be hot and humid and we could have thunderstorms so we will take a different approach.
“You have to compromise on the aerodynamic set up at Daytona, configuring the car to have good top speed for the straight, which means you have to pay it back with the handling in the infield.
“Tyres are critical wherever you are racing but more so at Daytona due to the loading that happens when you go up the banking and the fact that when you are on the infield section, the tyres don’t have a chance to cool down. This means that the balance of the car can change a lot from the beginning to the end of a stint.
“The thing I hear the most at Daytona is, “I’ve got understeer”. If the car has a twitchy rear (i.e. oversteer) you will be slow so you want a car that is more biased towards understeer, otherwise when they arrive at places like the Bus Stop with oversteer, they are slow in and slow out onto the flat out part of the circuit.
“Driver choice is important in these short races. Whoever qualifies has to start the race so you want your fastest driver in for Qualifying but you also want your fastest driver in for the sprint to the finish. Luckily we have four fast drivers but it’s still something we need to consider carefully.”
Harry Tincknell (Driver of #55 Mazda)
“I’m really excited to get back to racing after the extended break and back to entertaining our brilliant fans. Daytona has always been a strong track for the RT24-P and it was great to see the team achieve a podium finish in the Rolex 24. With the emphasis more on speed than reliability this time, we should be well placed to resume the championship with a strong result.”