• Mazda team eyes home track advantage

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    Jonathan Bomarito will join Tristan Nunez in the No. 55 Mazda Prototype with the aim of finishing first in the next round of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California this weekend. IMSA.COM

    Jonathan Bomarito will join Tristan Nunez in the No. 55 Mazda Prototype with the aim of finishing first in the next round of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California this weekend. IMSA.COM

    Mazda Motorsports believes it has a home track advantage at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California that will host this weekend the fourth round of the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).

    Coming off his best career finish in the IMSA Prototype class competition, Jonathan Bomarito will join Tristan Nunez driving the No. 55 Mazda Prototype. The team finished fifth in the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach, California on April 17, one position behind team-mates Joel Miller and Tom Long in the No. 70 Mazda Prototype.

    The Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes will hold a two-hour race on the challenging 2.238-mile (3.58-kilometer) circuit in the morning on Monday. The Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Daytona (GTD) competitors then will take the green flag in the afternoon.

    “It all matches up for this weekend,” said Bomarito, who attended Palma High School in nearby Salinas and was a driving instructor at Mazda Raceway for 10 years early in his career. “I love driving at Mazda Raceway – it’s a fun, flowing race track and very enjoyable from a driving perspective. Placing the Monterey Peninsula in the mix – it’s a beautiful place. Plus, I’ll have all my family and friends there watching. It all adds up to make it pretty special. Race car driving is a unique profession, and it’s fun to share that with everybody.”

    The Mazda Prototypes face strong challenges from four Corvette DPs, a Honda-powered Ligier and the DeltaWing coupe.

    Visit Florida Racing returns as defending race champions, albeit with a new driver line-up for 2016. Ryan Dalziel and Marc Goossens will share the No. 90 Corvette DP that won last year’s event while Ricky and Jordan Taylor are coming off a victory at Long Beach in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. Action Express Racing returns with the same drivers in a two-car lineup, with 2014-15 Prototype champions Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa driving the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP, while Dane Cameron and Eric Curran share the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP.

    Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian fields the No. 60 Honda Ligier JS P2 for Ozz Negri and John Pew, while Sean Rayhall returns to join Katherine Legge in the No. 0 Panoz DeltaWing Racing coupe.

    THE TIMES

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