Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill), the first one to turn laps, and Toni Vilander (Kankaanpää, Finland) put in over 60 laps on the all-new WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 Evo this morning. MacNeil came away with a Christmas smile on his face and lots of optimism for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season that will start with the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 25-26.
MacNeil and Vilander will continue in 2020 as teammates for the full GTD WeatherTech Championship season. The duo is joined by Alessandro Balzan (Italy), making his return to IMSA WeatherTech Racing, and returning endurance teammate Jeff Westphal (San Mateo, Calif.).
Having had a taste of winning a 24-hour race at the Creventic 24 Hours at the Circuit of the Americas last month, MacNeil is hungry for a Rolex watch at Daytona.
“We just completed a successful shake-down test of our all-new WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo race car at the Fiorano racetrack in Maranello Italy,” MacNeil said. “It is a big step forward from the last generation and should be a good car for Daytona next month. I am looking forward to 2020 teamed with Toni again. We have a good shot at the 24 this year. Our goal is to win. It takes teamwork between the drivers, Scuderia Corsa and Ferrari to make that happen. The Corsa guys have been working hard on their end to fine tune the team and I have a lot of confidence going into the Roar in just three-weeks.”
“I am looking forward to Daytona,” Vilander said. “The work started today at Maranello putting some laps on the new WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 Evo. It was great to run the very first Evo produced at the Ferrari test track today. We have a strong package for the 24. We have good drivers, a good team and will have a very good car. The drivers all know each very well. We were running good last year until our incident. It will be good to get things going at the Roar in three weeks. It is going to be another competitive year in 2020 with some new cars coming into GTD and strong drivers and cars returning. I am looking forward to the season and strong a start at the Rolex 24 next month.”
“Daytona will be very special for me coming back and racing with Cooper and WeatherTech Racing,” Balzan said. “We will have the new Ferrari 488 Evo which is a brand-new car. This will be my second Rolex 24 with Toni and Jeff as well as Cooper. We have a great energy among the team and drivers, and it will be a great event. I am training hard and focusing on being ready for the race next month. I saw Toni’s photo today from Fiorano of the new car and that got me very excited. I can’t wait to drive the new WeatherTech Racing car at Daytona next month!”
“I am extremely excited to be running the Rolex 24 again with WeatherTech Racing and Scuderia Corsa,” Westphal said. “After a strong 2019 North American endurance campaign with Cooper and Toni, and now with Alessandro, I like our chances at Daytona. I think we are looking for some redemption from last year. We had good pace and a good car, just some bad luck last year. It is safe to say that we are all highly motivated and looking forward to racing at Daytona next month.”
The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will start with the traditional Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona International Speedway January 3-5. The Rolex 24 At Daytona will run January 25-26.
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing