Alessandro Balzan (Italy) had the controls of the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 at the six-hour mark. Unfortunately, when he got in, the team was in 18th place in the GTD class, eight laps down. He put in a solid double stint before handing it off to Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Illinois) on lap 228.
“We were a little bit unlucky with the steering wheel issue because the car feels like it’s getting up to speed,” Balzan said after his stint. “The balance right now, with the night [cooler weather] and the [tire] pressures, makes the car real nice to drive. It’s a shame that we are a few laps down because we are one of the quickest cars out there tonight. There’s still a long way to go and the night is always full of surprises.”
MacNeil’s double stint was fairly uneventful for the most part. In fact, the most exciting thing during MacNeil’s stint was the annual fireworks display over the World Center of Racing. This is to say that MacNeil focused primarily on running consistent laps, while keeping the car out of trouble because there were no full course cautions during his stint to help the team get a lap or two back.
MacNeil finished up his second stint shortly after midnight. That’s when he brought the No. 63 Ferrari to pit lane for four tires, fuel and a driver change. Gunnar Jeanette (Salt Lake City) now had the reins on lap 284.
“Unfortunately, we’re down eight or nine laps due to a mechanical failure,” MacNeil said. “But, you know as they say, ‘that’s racing.’ Obviously, were not giving up. We’re still running hard. But, we need eight or nine yellows [to get back in it].
“The car is comfortable. It’s really nice to drive. It’s a shame we had a mechanical failure because the entire crew is doing their job – executing the pit stops flawlessly, drivers are driving flawlessly. It’s just a shame we had something break. But, we’ll see what happens.
“Alessandro was doing really well in there. He was running some super competitive times for GTD. The car’s good in the wet. We need some more rain.”
On lap 302, the race went full course caution for only the second time in the race. That’s when Jeanette had the good fortune of getting one of the nine laps the team needed back to get back on the GTD lead lap. Now, the team was down eight laps with just under 14 hours remaining. From there, Jeanette also was able to advance one position (to 17th) before Jeff Segal (Miami) got in.
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing