Mazda to Terminate DPi Program at End of Year; No LMDh

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Mazda will terminate its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi program at the end of this season, having confirmed that it will also not pursue an effort under the new LMDh regulations.

The Japanese manufacturer, which has been present every year in the top prototype category since the Grand-Am/ALMS merger 2014, announced a realignment of its motorsports strategy on Friday afternoon.

It comes after scaling back the Multimatic-run factory Mazda RT24-P program to a single entry for Harry Tincknell and Oliver Jarvis for 2021.

The duo teamed with Jonathan Bomarito for a podium finish in last month’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.

A statement from Mazda says the decision to end its prototype involvement was made after an “internal assessment of the current DPi series and the future LMDh series.”

“Mazda has a long history in racing and recently added several DPi victories and podium finishes during the 2020 season. This is a tribute to our ‘never stop challenging’ spirit,” said Mazda North American Operations chairman and CEO Masahiro Moro.

“We’re especially proud of our victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring, podium finishes at Daytona’s Rolex 24 in both 2020 and 2021, and record-setting laps at Daytona in 2019 and 2020.

“These are significant accomplishments in the history of Mazda Motorsports. We thank our drivers, team, partners, and our fans for their years of support, and look forward to a strong 2021 season.”

Additionally, Mazda Motorsports director Nelson Cosgrove will be departing the manufacturer at the end of this month, with motorsports marketing chief Mo Murray set to oversee the DPi program for the remainder of its term.

The manufacturer’s motorsports focus will center on the single-make Mazda MX-5 Cup, which kicked off in January under IMSA sanction, as well as other forms of grassroots racing.

Mazda’s withdrawal will leave just Cadillac and Acura on the DPi grid for the 2022 WeatherTech Championship season, in the expected final season of the formula prior to the introduction of the ACO and IMSA’s new joint prototype regulations.

At least 16 manufacturers had been involved in LMDh technical working group meetings in recent months, with Audi, Porsche and Acura all confirming programs for 2023.

“Mazda is one of the winningest manufacturers in IMSA history, with more than 200 victories at the highest level of IMSA competition and the potential to add to that total through the balance of the 2021 WeatherTech Championship season,” said IMSA President John Doonan, who had served as Mazda’s motorsports director until joining IMSA in 2020.

“Mazda was the first to reveal its DPi race car, the RT24-P, which went on to win iconic events like the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen among other races, and along the way became a fan favorite.

“While we will miss seeing that beautiful prototype out on the racetrack, we look forward to our continued partnership as the sanctioning body for the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires and the excitement that series will continue to provide for IMSA fans.”

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