Mazda Prototype Races New Engine

Mazda Motorsports Race Report: Rolex 24 at Daytona 
– Mazda Prototype team led the race before misfortune struck –
IRVINE, Calif. (January 31, 2016) – The Mazda Prototype team opened the 2016 season with a new race engine – the MZ-2.0T – and high expectations for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The gas-fueled engine performed well, powering into the lead of the race three times with the No. 55 Mazda Prototype, before mechanical issues knocked both cars out of the race. Unofficially, the No. 55 car finished 10th in class while the No. 70 Mazda finished 13th in class. Despite not finishing the 24-hour race, the Mazda Prototype team leaves Daytona with optimism and looking forward to the remaining races of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The next event is the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 19.
Race Recap: From the start, the No. 55 Mazda Prototype set sail to the front, taking the overall lead four hours into the race with driver Jonathan Bomarito, a 2010 class winner of the Rolex 24. Bomarito battled for the lead for the next several hours, leading three times for nine laps before pitting while leading at the six-hour mark. As Spencer Pigot, current Indy Lights champion, climbed in for his first Prototype race, the car wouldn’t restart and the team changed the ECU. Pigot re-entered the race three laps behind. In the midst of his lengthy 3 hour, 45 minute stint, the rookie gained back all three laps and turned the car over to Tristan Nunez. Running sixth on the lead lap, Nunez barely avoided being taken out by two GT cars crashing into the wall, only to suffer from a valve train issue and subsequent fire. After 11 hours and 30 minutes of racing, the No. 55 was unable to return to the race. The nine laps led exceeded the total laps led in the 2015 season for Mazda. 
The No. 55 car was the sole Mazda on track after the No. 70 Prototype suddenly slowed and driver Tom Long pulled off the circuit into the infield grass only 20 minutes into the race. A flywheel failure did enough damage that the car wasn’t able to return. Drivers Joel Miller and Ben Devlin did not have the opportunity to race.