Mazda director of motorsports John Doonan, left, joins in the postrace celebration with driver Harry Tincknell at Watkins Glen on Sunday.
It’s a good possibility the victory celebration for Mazda Team Joest is still in progress, more than 24 hours after the checkered flag flew and sealed the team’s 1-2 result in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
Make no mistake, the celebration included the entire team and drivers for both cars. Obviously, the No. 55 RT24-P DPi won in the hands of Harry Tincknell, Jonathan Bomarito and Olivier Pla, but there was an incredible sense of pride in the second-place finishing No. 77 team of Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Timo Bernhard as well.
Jarvis started the race from the pole position in the No. 77 — the third time this year that he’s won the Motul Pole Award — but the No. 55 car seemed to have slightly more pace on race day. That’s not to say the No. 77 couldn’t have won. When the left-side engine cover dislodged on the No. 55 in the closing minutes of the race, Jarvis easily could have pounced on the opportunity to take the win for himself and his co-drivers. Instead, he was the ultimate team player.
“I mean, this has been a huge team effort,” Jarvis said. “Huge congrats to the 55, what a drive from them three. The whole team did an amazing job. They had a bit of damage at the end, but they hung on. It’s been a long while coming, but it’s worth the wait. We’re going to enjoy tonight, but we’ve got another race next week. We want to go win again.”
If the No. 77 wins – which could happen as early as next Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Acura at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – it’s likely to be another emotional one, especially for Nunez.
He started as a Mazda factory driver as a teenager and has been part of the team’s driver lineup dating back to 2015 when it entered the WeatherTech Championship with a pair of diesel-powered LMP2 prototypes. With that much history in the program, Nunez had some postrace tears of joy himself on Sunday.
“I was wiping tears from my face,” said the now 23-year-old driver. “At this point, it didn’t matter which car won. I’m crying tears of joy because a Mazda won a race. It’s something we needed for so long, and it’s finally showed the hard work and dedication that’s gone into this program.
“We have everything now, an amazing team, the best drivers, I think, in the world, and it shows today. A really dominant 1-2 finish from Mazda, and nothing can beat these emotions right now.”
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