Driven by Olly Jarvis, the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P went around the Daytona International Speedway road course faster than any other car in history in Thursday’s qualifying for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Jarvis not only captured the overall pole position but broke the 26-year-old course record on the 3.56-mile road course.
“The most important thing for us was to get the pole,” Jarvis explained. “Since the Roar, I’ve gotten a better understanding of what it means to have the course record. For that record to stand for 26 years is incredible, and I wasn’t sure that we could beat it today because of the rain that we had this morning.”
On his fourth flying lap, Jarvis ran a time of 1:33.685 which officially reset the longstanding record lap of 1:33.875, and the time held to the end of the session. In the No. 55 Castrol Mazda RT24-P, Jonathan Bomarito ran a time of 1:34.212 which would be good for fourth position at the end of the session.
“It’s a great day for the Mazda program,” Bomarito said. “All of the Mazda Team Joest guys have worked so hard since the checkered flag fell at Petit Le Mans last year, and having our cars start first and fourth for the Rolex 24 at Daytona is proof of that. Obviously, the Mazda RT24-P has a lot of pace, but we also know we have a car that will be good for the race and I’m looking forward to taking the green flag on Saturday afternoon.”
This is Mazda’s first overall pole position in its history at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and is the first pole position in IMSA for Jarvis and the Mazda RT24-P. Mazda has captured 22 class victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, beginning forty years ago with a 1-2 finish for the Mazda RX-7 in the GTU class.
“Everyone at Mazda is appreciative of IMSA to give us the chance to showcase our brand here in this championship,” said John Doonan, director, Mazda Motorsports. “It’s been a good month. The Roar was good and today was good, but this weekend is what it’s all about and we hope that it can be a great end to what has been a good month. Everyone involved with Mazda Team Joest – Multimatic, AER, and these drivers – have been absolutely non-stop and we are very, very proud of the results we are seeing from their effort.”
Make sure to follow Mazda Team Joest at The Rolex 24 at Daytona this Saturday, January 26. The race will be live at 2 p.m. EST on NBC Sports.