James Hinchcliffe makes his return to the Mazda family – he never really left, but just had a one-year hiatus – while Spencer Pigot continues as expected as the extra drivers in the pair of Mazda RT24-P prototypes for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Hinchcliffe will make his fifth start as a Mazda factory team member at the Rolex 24 (2012-2015), while Pigot makes his third at the Rolex 24, and second straight in Prototype.
Veteran Ben Devlin will also be on hand at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 this weekend to assist in shaking down both cars.
Hinchcliffe will share the No. 70 ModSpace/Castrol Edge Mazda in gunmetal grey livery with Joel Miller and Tom Long, while Pigot is in the No. 55 Mazda in soul red crystal livery with Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez.
“It’s great to be back behind the wheel at Daytona! It sucked sitting out last year’s race, but my focus at the time was getting myself back in shape for the IndyCar season,” Hinchcliffe said in a release.
“Coming back to Mazda and SpeedSource, where I’ve done all of my races at Daytona, is like coming home and I can’t thank Sylvain [Tremblay, SpeedSource owner] and John [Doonan, Mazda Motorsports director] enough for the chance. I can’t wait to be working with everyone there again, to get my hands on the new car, and try and deliver a win for Mazda.”
Doonan added, “When the Mazda brand embarked on providing the motorsports industry with a driver development scholarship program in 2007, it was our intention to develop drivers from the grassroots to the top levels in both open wheel and sports cars. With the Mazda Road to 24 and the Mazda Road to Indy now fully developed, we strive to promote from within.
“Each of our full-time drivers— Joel, Jonathan, Tom and Tristan— have come through at least one of the two programs, and they’ve given us the speed, continuity and great chemistry that a team must have to win.
“We are also thrilled to have Spencer and James back with us for the Rolex 24, as they have been a part of the Mazda family for many years. Their talent and chemistry with the team are extremely valuable. To have Ben and his experience with us this weekend is an added bonus.”
Hinchcliffe is confirmed for another season with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the Verizon IndyCar Series, while Pigot appears set to return to the road and street course races with Ed Carpenter Racing.