An issue with the Mazda RT24-P’s rear wing assembly ultimately denied the manufacturer a chance of victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona according to Harry Tincknell, who has described its up-and-down race.
The Multimatic-run DPi entry finished third in the hands of Tincknell, Oliver Jarvis and Jonathan Bomarito, rebounding from a three-lap deficit early on.
While having rolled off the grid late due to an electrical issue, the sole Mazda encountered an air jack problem in the fourth hour that put it initially one lap behind as it fought handling issues.
A stop for malfunctioning rear lights shortly afterwards solved the root cause of the problem, as the rear tail and wing assembly had come unlatched due to a damaged locking pin.
Strategy and a series of full-course cautions and wave-bys put the Mazda back onto the lead lap and up to as high as second only for for the rear deck locking pin to start to fail again in the closing stages with Tincknell behind the wheel.
“The plan was to stay on the lead lap and take no risks so we would be in the running at the end,” said Tincknell. “That went straight out the window when the pace at the front was so hot and we were playing catch up from the start.
“We had just got back on the lead lap when we pitted under yellows to change the rear deck of the car, which wouldn’t go back on and we lost three laps.
“All you can do in situations like these is to go back out there and be the fastest car as that keeps everyone’s heads up so that’s what I did.
“We knew we had a mountain to climb but we kept at it.
“The turning point came during my next run as I managed to unlap myself by passing the leader, then it went yellow, which gave me another lap back straightaway with the pass around.
“One of the big takeaways for us is that we had no contact during the race.
“When you consider that there were over 50 cars on a 3.5-mile track and they are being driven by a mixture of professionals and amateurs, it’s amazing to come out unscathed.
“This is the sort of result that stings in the aftermath but the following morning you feel proud of the job the whole team did.”
Multimatic’s Larry Holt added the result was an “impressive achievement” considering they “clawed back” to the lead lap after the early setbacks.
“If we hadn’t had the wing issue again at the end I’m thinking that the outcome might have been even more impressive,” he said.
“But that’s racing and none of the crew, engineers or drivers left anything on the table, it was a sprint all the way.
“I really want to thank them all for the never give up attitude that they all displayed, despite the times when it was looking a bit dismal.
“We have a little work to do on the rear tail mount, the same arrangement that we’ve been using for years, but the rest of the car, engine and gearbox was impeccable.”