ATLANTA, Georgia- Wanting to get ahead of speculation concerning Mazda Motorsports split with Joest Racing that is expected after the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, Mazda PR rep Victor Hitchins thanked Joest Racing for their support and said recent success carrying over into 2020 was the biggest factor in Mazda’s decision. “Everyone is well aware of the uphill battles we had faced with our prototype programs and this past season we saw a real reversal of fortunes with three victories including the home race of our then team boss John Doonan. Now with that all said, everyone at Mazda was overly concerned this trend would continue, and with that in mind, we have parted ways with Joest Racing,” explained Hitchins, who wanted to make it clear Mazda would be getting back to its roots. “This is in no way a commentary on how Multimatic will be handling the program going forward, because they are more than capable of winning, but our long term plan will be to fight them over every development or suggestion that could bring us more wins or at the very least keep us competitive. Our fans and sponsors voiced their concerns all year that watching or attending races became too stressful when Mazda had a solid chance of a victory.”
Hitchins would not comment on rumors that Doonan had been forced out by Mazda for working too hard and believing cars catching on fire is bad for a brand.