While speaking with The Drive at the 12 Hours of Sebring over the weekend, Mazda North America chief executive Masahiro Moro confirmed that the Japanese manufacturer is indeed considering going to Le Mans, but hasn’t made a firm decision yet.
"I think we don’t have a plan we can probably share… about doing a 24 hours race yet," Moro-san said. "We have been in contact with the ACO [Automobile Club de l’Ouest], and I’m personally meeting with Pierre Fillon and Jean Todt sometime to discuss. It’s important for us [ACO and Mazda] to be in the loop.”
If Mazda does make a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it would probably only do so if rules governing its current Daytona Prototype International racer, the Mazda RT24-P, were the same across the International Motor Sports Association’s (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Mazda is no stranger to Le Mans, famously taking an outright victory in 1991 with the rotary-powered 787B, becoming the first (and only, until last year) Japanese manufacturer to do so. Team Joest, the racing outfit which Mazda competes with in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, has multiple Le Mans victories under its belt.
"I think we’re looking forward to [seeing] what will be our future, as time comes [to decide] to go 24-hour racing. Right now, our big objective is, first and foremost, to get a championship here [in IMSA]. Mr. Joest, he’s a very strong guy, and he’s definitely demanding to get a title—after that, we will think about the next step."