The International Motor Sports Association has produced some of the best racing of the last decade in North America, perhaps some of the best racing in the world. The series today announced that it would be appointing former Mazda North America director of motorsports, John Doonan, to the position of series president.
Over the past several years Doonan has undertaken the turnaround of Mazda’s IMSA racing operations. After winning for several years with the RX-8 program in Grand Am, the team decided to focus on diesel technology, which was nothing but a tremendous failure. After completely replacing the chassis, the engine, the driver lineup, and the team running things, Doonan finally moved the team into a position to win this year.
From a news release:
“John is a fantastic choice to become our next president, to build upon the momentum of our just-completed 50th anniversary season and take our sport to the next level,” said Ed Bennett, IMSA chief executive officer. “He is respected, well known in our paddock, and brings a strong passion for motorsport that will greatly benefit everyone involved.”
Doonan succeeds Scott Atherton, who has been the guiding light, COO, and President of IMSA since the ALMS began in 2000. Atherton led the series through a restructuring and merger with Grand Am in 2013, and has built upon strong years to survive some pretty lean years. I look forward to seeing Doonan, a genuinely nice guy with a huge smile, lead the series into a new era.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime and dream opportunity after attending IMSA races since I was young boy,” Doonan said. “I am very humbled and truly honored to have the opportunity to join the IMSA team and I’m really looking forward to making a positive impact for our sport, our partners and our industry.”
Doonan was an instrumental part of Mazda’s North American operations. With the recent successes of the RT24P prototype in IMSA, and the launch of the Mazda3 TCR a couple of weeks ago, it will be interesting to see what happens to those programs in his absence.