Photo courtesy of IMSA

Another fire ends Mazda’s potential podium hopes at Rolex 24

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A near flawless race from the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P has gone up in flames, thus putting pause to Mazda Motorsports’ best hopes of a podium finish for the second straight IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race.

Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez and Spencer Pigot shared the Soul Red entry, with Pigot running fifth when flames appeared out the back of the AER-developed, Mazda MZ-2.0T, the same 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine that raced last year.

The flames turned to more smoke on pit lane as Pigot brought the car into the pit box, and the crew extinguished the fire. Mazda confirmed via social media Pigot was OK, and it will diagnose the cause of the issue.

This will actually be the first expected retirement of the race among the 12 debuting Prototype cars, split between the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) and 2017 LMP2 chassis, which means the reliability has been really good up to this point.

If this feels like deja vu all over again, it does, because at Petit Le Mans last year Pigot was also in a fantastic scrap with Simon Pagenaud, Ricky Taylor and others with hopes of a podium well within reach.

But with what looks like a similar fire out the back of the car, in the-then Lola Multimatic built chassis, Joel Miller limped into the pit lane as the car retired.

The agony of running this well, this long for Mazda – with the car otherwise only delayed by radio issues that caused Pigot to complete an improper wave by in the early hours – is why this GIF from the @IMSA Twitter account is entirely appropriate.

The No. 70 Mazda, in Machine Gray colors, continues although was delayed in the garage for nearly six hours with a gearbox change. Miller, Tom Long and James Hinchcliffe share that car.

Pippa Mann returns to Dale Coyne Racing for seventh Indianapolis 500 bid

Photo courtesy Dale Coyne Racing
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Pippa Mann announced Tuesday that she plans to drive in her seventh Indianapolis 500 on May 27.

The native of Ipswich, England will once again return to race for Dale Coyne Racing, with new sponsorship by Donate Life Indiana.

She had previously been sponsored the last four years in the 500 by the Susan G. Komen organization. She’ll continue to carry logos of that organization on the front wing of her car in the 500, Mann said.

Mann, 34, has raced six times in the 500, with a best finish being 17th in last year’s race.

Mann will fill out the four-car Dale Coyne Racing field for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. She’ll be teammates with Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda in a partnership with Vasser-Sullivan), Pietro Fittipaldi (No. 19 The Paysafe Car Honda) and Conor Daly (No. 17 U.S. Air Force Honda in a partnership with Thom Burns Racing).

Mann will make her first practice laps for this year’s 500 on Tuesday, May 15. Qualifying is May 19-20.

Mann’s No. 63 Honda will have a significantly different look than in the last few years. Instead of pink, her car will feature a silvery blue and light green paint scheme wrapped around a Donate Life Indiana logo.

“I am honored to have been asked to drive the Donate Life car this May and to partner with Donate Life Indiana as an ambassador to raise awareness on our mission to help reach even more Hoosiers through our education efforts,” Mann said in a media release. “This is obviously a campaign with a pretty deep personal meaning for me, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to join the racers carrying this cause forward.

“I also want to thank Dale and Gail Coyne for once again giving me this opportunity to pilot one of their entries this May. This will be my sixth year with Dale Coyne Racing and I’m truly grateful that they allow me to do this every year.”

Mann will also serve as a spokesperson for the organization and to raise awareness for youth education initiatives in Indiana, most notably organ, tissue and eye donor registration.

In addition to her driving duties in the 102nd running of the 500, Mann will also visit schools across the Hoosier State to speak about the importance of organ donation and transplantation.

“Our education team is committed to partnering with Pippa and students and teachers across the state to bring the message of organ donation and transplantation to as many students as possible,” said Steve Johnson, board chairman for Donate Life Indiana.

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