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Does Mazda make the prettiest modern endurance racer?
British drivers will race this Mazda sportscar at the Daytona 24 hours
We love endurance racing. The talents required of cars and drivers to last 24 hours, rather than an hour or so, are extraordinary. As a result, the cars tend to look extraordinary, too.
In the case of Audi’s recent LMP1 racers, that can be construed as a backhanded compliment. But Mazda has proved that this class of car needn’t be so burly and slab-sided. Its endurance racer – the RT24-P – is very pretty. Well, at least to our eyes.
It will compete in America’s endurance championship – the IMSA series – under a new team, Mazda Joest, which sees the team behind Audi’s recent Le Mans success join forces with the maker of the howling 787B. Wonderful. Mazda’s modern twice-round-the-clock racer doesn’t sound as good as its rotary ancestor – revving to a mere 8,500rpm – but lord does it look good.It cloaks a body dripping in Mazda styling cues – the ‘grille’ can be related to its road cars and the whole thing is meant to convey the company’s ‘Kodo’ design language – over a Riley LMP2 chassis and a 2.0-litre turbo engine. Think that sounds a bit lame? They’ve squeezed 600bhp out of it…
The car debuted last season, and has seen chassis, aero and engine upgrades for 2018, as well as some weight saving measures. It’ll be raced by some Brits this year, too. Joining the Mazda Joest team for the IMSA championship are Oliver Jarvis and Harry Tinknell, with plenty of Le Mans experience between them.
Their first race is at the end of this month, at the Daytona 24 Hours in Florida. With Joest backing, there’s every chance the RT24-P will go as well as it looks.