By: Ashley McCubbin
While some drivers and teams enjoyed having the Mutal Pole 100 to set the starting grid for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, it wasn’t an event that made everybody in the IMSA have a smile on their face. Despite placing finish second in the event in the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports entry, Harry Tincknell feels the risks of the event outweighed the reward, especially being an experienced team.
“It was more of a risk to us than anything, running into traffic or wrecking the car a week before the biggest race for the year,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “We didn’t need to work out strategy or who was doing what on the stand; we have that all figured out long before in previous seasons. We probably aren’t one of the biggest fans of it, but to other teams, we can see why it was very beneficial for them.
“But we were just very thankful – I said this on the cool down lap thanking we got through that and could get through the rest of the race week, because we certainly didn’t want to giving the mechanics a lot of work to do in-between and it’s been nice the last few days they’ve been able to make small little changes and not rebuild a complete car because you had a big crash in a race that doesn’t mean much.”
Those sentiments were shared by his teammate Oliver Jarvis, as he played it a little cautious “to not put the car in harms way,” not wanting to damage the car and set the team back ahead of the Rolex 24.
“Depending how you view it, if it continues, maybe you have to look at having more points attributed to it,” Jarvis suggested. “Because at one point, an hour 40 – same length as a normal race, but it counts for just qualifying points which is 10%.”
Despite his fears surrounding the danger they put the car in, he admits being a “nice way to get the whole week going,” and something to look on possibly improving upon moving forward.
“I think there’s positives and negatives, depending how you look at it,” he added. “For me, one thing I really enjoyed in previous seasons was to have that qualifying on Friday and have all the cars on track with fans and really push. I can understand having the race as something extra for the fans – it’s another dimension.”
The sentiment is shared through the whole team with Jonathan Bomarito says he’s game for whatever puts smiles on fans’ faces.
“If the end of all this, the fans liked having another race to watch and that’s building towards the spectacle of the great race, than that’s a positive,” he commented. “Whatever we can do to them to add more for IMSA and our exposure, we’re all game for.”
The race certainly created headlined regardless, as race winners Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani expressed frustration in feeling the fellow manufactures – Mazda and Acura – were not fully showing their hand last Sunday.
“Well, I don’t know if Cadillac as a manufacture, their major representative feels the same way,” Bomarito said. “Those comments are coming from drivers who drove a Cadillac, and all drivers are kind of whiney when it comes to that. So kind of hard to say. I think the fact that there were no changes, they feel the balance in performance is really close, and I think you’ll see that in the 24 hours. There’s going to be great racing across all three brands that are in the DPi class and you saw that at Sebring in the 12 Hours and will continue to see it in this race.”